LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, i
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
THE WELDED LINK,
AND OTHER POEMS.
JUDGE J. F. SIMMONS,
LATK CJIANCELLOU OK THE MISSISSUTI STATK JUDICIAUV,
r n I L A D E L P TI 1 A :
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
Copyriglit, 1881, by J. B. Lippincott & Co.
OP THE LATE
COMMODORE CORNELIUS YANDERBILT
THIS YOLTJME IS DEDICATED,
WITH PROFOUND FEELINGS OF EESPECT AND VENERATION,
AND AS A
MODEST BUT SINCERE TOKEN OF APPRECIATION OF
HIS MUNIFICENT BENEFACTION FOR THE EDUCATION OF
AND ALSO AS A
MARK OF THE HIGH ESTEEM IN WHICH HE WAS HELD AND HIS
MEMORY IS CHERISHED BY
At the risk of being deemed affected, but in all sin-
cerity, I assure the readers of the following pages that
I have not rushed unadvisedly before the public in the
role of author. On the contrary, I do so with many
misgivings as to my ability to afford that sort of mental
pabulum and entertainment which is sought and en-
joyed by the intelligent and the refined in feeling and
thought (and it is the appreciation and approval of
these I most desire), and I only do so upon the advice,
and even at the earnest solicitation, of many (some of
whom are strangers to me personally) for whose judg-
ment I have the highest respect. More than two years
ago one in whom I have great confidence and hold in
high esteem, both for his religious principles and his
intelligence, advised me more than once to ^' write a
book of poems." But I did not even entertain the
idea. Since then I have, from time to time, written
and published short ^' poems" (as others have chosen
to eall them), and written a great deal more that I
have not published, nor ever expected to publish.
The longest of these (" Evening Meditations") was
written with pencil within the inclosure of the ceme-
tery near my home — as it purports to have been — dur-
ing the autumn evenings of 1879, while the prevalence
of the yellow fever;in Memphis to a certain extent iso-
lated us from the world abroad. It was subsequently
rewritten in ink, at the request of one dear to me, in
order to its preservation. This, with some others that
the reader will find, spun out to too great a length for
the columns of a newspaper, and are only included in
this volume because it was advised, and even urged, by
those friends who had seen them in manuscript.
After it became known that I would probably issue
a volume, several persons who had preserved copies of
verses that I had written many years ago sent them to
me. Some of these I have used, others not, my object
being to embrace in my collection a variety as well in
dates of the productions as in their style and senti-
A great deal of what I have written and published
I never preserved. I think that some of the best verses
I ever wrote are lost or beyond my reach. Had I ever
contemplated such a publication as this, copies would
have been preserved. This is of little consequence,
however, as I have already far more than are needed
to make up a volume of the size contemplated, and a
great many tributes to personal friends and other short
poems are necessarily excluded for want of space, and
yet I dare say the reader will conclude "there is plenty
of it, such as it is." The calls that have been made
upon me, and the expressions of opinion by ladies and
gentlemen of the highest character, that my writings
would or might accomplish good, brought me to the
determination to publish provided a first-class publish-
ing-hoiise should, upon examination, reach the same
favorable opinion. That this was done I need only
refer the reader to the name of the publishing-firm at
the foot of the title-page.
One friend suggested that some might regard my
employment of Gray's measure and style in a number
of instances as plagiarism. Plagiarism is an uncred-
ited use of the thoughts, language, or expressions, not
the style, of another, else every poet who has lived and
written since the literature of Greece and Rome was
given to the world has been to a certain extent a pla-
giarist. Measure, like language, is common property
to all who will learn and use it. Elegiac measure is
not only a favorite one with me, but it is the only one
adapted to a certain class of poetical writing. As well
might one accuse Poe of plagiarism after reading his
" Bells'' and Schiller's " Lay of the Bells," as accuse
me of it after comparing my unpretentious verse with
Gray's incomparable " Elegy." I should feel flattered
if even a resemblance were found in the matter- as there
is in the measure. To preclude one from using a
certain measure or following out a certain train of
thO'Ught simply because some one else had done the
same thing before, would be to preclude the publica-
tion of any more books other than reissues of those
already old and familiar. If I have even seemed to
imitate, it is simply because my mind and thoughts
happened to flow in the same channel in which flowed
those of the one whom I unconsciously followed. I do
not think I have imitated. I am quite sure I have in
no instance intended to do so, and in every instance in
which I ]iave made use of any expression that I liave
ever seen before, I have always been particular to ac-
knowledge it by the use of quotation marks.
My friends, and even strangers (and, what is equally
gratifying, children), have been kind and partial enough
to declare that there is merit in my productions and
that they had accomplished good, and by their publi-
cation in book-form would accomplish still more. I
know not ; but this I do know : the most of them are
emanations more from the heart than from the head.
Such as they are I give them to the public with no
blush of shame for any sentiment that I have promul-
gated through them.
I cannot close this preface, long as it is, without
returning my sincere thanks to those friends — includ-
ing strangers who have written letters to me and
members of the editorial profession — who have cheered
me on with expressions of approval and encouragement,
and to the publishers, Messrs. J. B. Lippincott <fe Co.
(between the senior of whom and myself there have, I
am proud to say, existed friendly ties for many years),
for so readily undertaking the uncertain experiment of
launching my untried and unknown barque upon the
broad sea of public opinion. I hope none of them will
ever have cause to regret what they have done.
J. F. Simmons.
Sardis, Miss., January, 1881.
The Welded Link . . 13
The Little Faded Dress 33
Minnie's Farewell 35
A Man 38
To MY Wife 41
Two Years Ago To-Day 44
A Kainy Day 46
Elegy Written at the National Cemetery at
Corinth, Mississippi 48
The Phantom-Train 55
Gone to his Eest 62
" Pattie" 64
We Have Purled It 66
Our Dead Comrades 69
The Bangs 72
The Booster 77
The Hebrew Queen 85
The Snow 90
Love (?) 94
Fold it up Carefully 99
Cxxxvii Psalm 103
Perhaps it were as Well 105
Elegy Written in a Country Grave- Yard . . 107
No Friends ! No Home ! Ill
To A Young Lady 112
Autumn Evening Meditations 114
The Storm-Beaten Barque 141
I Think of Thee 144
The Star 146
The Second Life 147
Minnie's Grave 15,0
To MY Father on his Eightieth Birthday . . 152
Heroes of Pestilence 155
True Heroism 160
Heart Language 163
All Quiet along the Tombigbee .... 167
Santa Barbara 169
KocK THAT Cradle ! 174
Calhoun's at Best 176
The Blighted Flower 177
My Angel Child 178
kosh hoshanah 183
A Tribute of Affection to the Eev. Egbert Paine,
Whose Life is like the Summer Kose ? . . . 190
Mamma's Two Little Angels 192
Make Home Bright 197
The Bright Beyond 199
The Crape upon the Door-Knob 200
Keveries of a Bachelor 207
Little Kobin 210
"I am Eeady" 211
" Nearer, My God, to Thee" 215
Do I Eat ? 218
How they do Grow ! 221
The Boys 223
To A Young Lady Friend 226
A Mother's Love . 227
The Lover's Farewell 228
The Shattered Idol 230
To my Wife 232
The Way 233
Little Nellie . 236
Nashville's First Centennial 237
The Broken Shaft 242
The Late Bishop Edmund S. Janes .... 248
A Brave but Sad Martyrdom 249
Old Shake 252
The Twin Blossoms 257
Meum et Tuum. ........ 258
"Death Kisses" 260
Lines to a Young Lady 262
THE WELDED LINK.
The original settlers of America, mostly victims of oppression,
were drawn and bound together by ties of sympathy, interest,
and mutual hardship and exposure. They succeeded in the face
of adverse circumstances. The mother-country oppressed them
unwisely and unjustly. They resisted, threw off the yoke, and
as a band of brothers defied her. War ensued, and the infant
republic conquered its independence. The brotherhood contin-
ued until evil counsels prevailed, and a bloody fratricidal war
was brought on. This, after four years of bloody carnage and
unheard-of endurance, terminated in the defeat of the Southern
by the Northern arms. Peace was proclaimed, but fraternal
feelings did not follow ; nor, indeed, had war ended save in active
hostilities. The humiliating, bitter sense of defeat burned in the
Southern heart, and ruin and desolation prevailed all over the
once prosperous Sunny South. In 1878 the yellow fever made
its appearance and became epidemic throughout a large por-
tion of the Southwest, entailing death and distress beyond des-
cription and too horrible to contemplate. A wail of suffering
and sorrow went up from our stricken and unhappy people. It
reached the ears and hearts of the North, and elicited such re-
sponses as only the noble in soul can make. The men and women
came from there to "do or die" for the alleviation of the woe and
suffering that held high carnival here, and many of those who
came, alas! paid for their devotion with their lives. Besides
these, food, clothing, medicines, and all other necessaries, and
hundreds of thousands in money were sent for the relief of the
sorely stricken and distressed South. Such more than human
14 THE WELDED LINK.
kindness, charity, and love did what arms never could Lave
done. It conquered tlie Southern people and the Southern heart.
These contributions came, as we were informed, from the
hardy laborer and the poor widow, to the extent of their ability,
as freely as from the more fortunate and wealthy. God bless
them all and unite vis with them evermore in one indissoluble
bond of brotherhood !
The freshened breezes swept the flowing main,
And winnowed fragrance o'er the smiling plain ;
The whitecaps danced upon the rolling green,
The sun flung down his gems to deck the scene ;
Each sportive wave that leaped and gambolled by
Was crowned with jewels from the azure sky,
And at the nuptials of the wind and tide
Ten thousand glitt'ring gems adorned the bride.
And yet, though sea and sky — all nature — Avore
Bright smiles of joy they oft had worn before,
Behind those smiles could gentle tears be seen :
'Twas but a gauzy veil that hung between.
Off from the beach, impatient of restraint.
An ocean monarch rocked her voiceless plaint,
While on her decks loud lamentations rung
From strong, true hearts by sorrow all unstrung,
For well they knew the echoes of the bell
Bore to responsive hearts their sad farewell ;
That, when from eager view yon well-loved shore
Should fade, they dared not hope to see it more.
The beach was thronged with loving ones and dear,
Whose bitter wails the waves alone could hoar.
THE WELDED LINK. 15
Wiiose scalding tears, tboagh rudely dashed aside,
Still freely flowed to mingle with the tide.
There stood the aged dame, the blooming maid,
The snow-crowned sire, around whose temples played
The cooling breeze. Each felt with aching heart
The sad, stern truth, the bitter need to part ;
For then it was oppression's mandate drove
From native land, the home of childhood's love,
A sturdy race, who bravely, proudly broke
The despot's chains and spurned his galling yoke.
And, with a courage and a faith sublime.
Dared brave the hardships of an unknown clime,
Whose soil the savage foot alone had trod,
That they might there, untrammelled, worship God.
A faith sublime indeed ! That far-oif world
Was like to them a hidden scroll all furled.
Save here and there, the whispered word went round.
The lono:-souo;ht home of Freedom had been found.
With trusting hearts and solemn, fervent prayer.
They spread their sails; the wind and waves were fair.
Nor ev'n might storm their hearts with terror fill :
They trusted Him who bade the waves "be still."
These all were brethren then; as brethren came —
In mind and heart, and not alone in name —
To rear a fair asylum, hence to be
The home, the peaceful goal, of Liberty;
And sweet, while Heaveu's smiling arch o'erspread.
To kneel and worship God, nor feel a dread
Lest some mailed hand should rudely intervene.
And bring confusion o'er the holy scene.
16 THE WELDED LINK.
Old Time moved on, "and still the wonder grew''
That man could be so steadfast and so true
To all the higher attributes of love, —
Which seemed less earthy than of Heav'n above —
That cross and sword could blend in harmony
To weave a web of fond fraternity,
A temple rear, whose love-crowned fane should rise
In stately grandeur to the arching skies.
Where once the savage red man roamed at ease.
Amid the forests pathless, dense, and dark.
And beasts of prey, their hunger to appease
On unsuspecting ones, were wont to lurk ;
Now hum of industry, borne on the breeze,
Floats o'er the blooming fields, the spires that mark
The progress of man's skill, his enterprise,
His energy and industry, and — hark ! —
Sweet anthems swelling upward to the skies
Tell that religion, once perhaps a spark.
Has grown a flame to warm and soothe his rest,
And light him to the mansions of the blest.
^ IfC >jC ^ ^ ^
The scene is changed ! Where calm blue ether hung,
Portentous clouds their deep, dark shades have flung;
Where gentle zephyrs forest leaflets stirred,
The coming storm's discordant voice is heard ;
The bird-like notes of peace resound no more,
But comes instead the angered lion's roar !
And yet, though augurs tell that danger's near.
No cheek is blanched, no heart congeals with fear,
A purpose stern is marked on every brow.
Brave when they came, they all are braver now,
THE WELDED LINK. |7
Stern, well -matured resolves their bosoms till,
And bold defiance to a despot's will.
Long time, impelled by filial love, they bore
The heavy burdens that oppressed theni sore,
But now " the God of battles'^ they invoke,
And pledge resistance to a tyrant's yoke.
Th' oppressor came; united then they showed
Unbroken front, their blood in torrents flowed.
And stronger grew the ties of brotherhood.
Cemented thus in brother\s crimson blood.
They fought, they suffered, bore cold \vinter's blast,
And summer's heat, till victory at last
Perched on their banner, — bunting though it was, — *
And Freedom smiled on her triumphant cause.
And when the clouds of war had rolled away.
And once more shone the light of peaceful day, —
Their hearts with love and gratitude to fill, —
Then Heaven smiled to find them brothers still.
The soothing, gladsome notes of peace went forth
Throughout the East and West, the South and North,
The hum of industry Avas heard again,
And vegetation smiled on every plain ;
The busy forge its burning vapors flung
Upon the air, while anvil music rung,
As giant arms, with rapid strokes or slow.
Shaped out the heated bar with many a blow.
From hill and valley, workshop, wood, and field,
Full many a heartfelt, grateful anthem pealed ;
* The bunting was ridiculed by their foes.
18 THE WELDED LINK.
Then every home was made a house of i)rayer,
And every heart could feel a brother's care ;
Harmonious seemed to grow the brotherhood,
And Heaven smiled and saw that all "was good."
But ah ! what spot was e'er so sacred made
That wily serpent's trail could not invade?
Man once possessed fair Eden's holy bower,
Where sweets ambrosial freighted every flower;
Where zephyrs' pinions wafted 'round him joys,
And every breeze, with music-laden voice.
Charmed his repose, enchanted all his dreams,
And laved his soul in soft ecstatic streams;
Where seraphs sang in sweet ethereal strains,
And beauties bloomed unfading o'er the plains;
Hung luscious fruits his cravings to forestall,
And his companions sinless angels all ;
And where, to satisfy and charm the soul,
The great Jehovah's presence crowned the whole.
Ev'n there the sordid, artful reptile crept.
And wrought the sin o'er which the angels wept,
Marred lovely innocence with guilty stain.
Which caused the Lamb to be for sinners slain.
Could fairest clime of earth e'er hope to be
From trials, even bitter discords, free,
Since Paradise, the home of angels bright.
Had been invaded by Satanic blight?
No ! no ! earth's fairest spot is ne'er so fair
But some foul fiend will find an entrance there.
And man can only watch and wait the hour.
And gird himself with strength to meet the foe,
THE WELDED LINK. jg
To overcome the wily tempter's j)ower,
And smite liim with exterminating blow.
And liere the serpent came to rend the ties
Approved of Him who rnles the earth and skies,
Sowed seeds of discord o'er the smilino- land.
Till brothers' blood was shed by brothers' hand.
Then Moloch fanned the sacrificial flame,
And with a rnthless hand enforced his claim
To human victims for his cruel fire,
Till hecatombs of lives upon his pyre
Brought torpitude, appeased his lust of life,
And put an end to fratricidal strife.
Peace came; but not as 'twas in days of yore,
A¥hen every tongue fraternal greeting bore,
And only bore what every bosom felt.
When love could coldness and resentment melt.
And every heart another's woe could feel,
Or find a pleasure in that other's weal.
No love, like blooming flower, its fragrance shed
O'er hearts estranged, for love, alas ! was dead.
Albeit the sword was sheathed, the bugle blast
Was heard no more, and strife of blood was ])ast,
Alas! still yawned a dark and '^bloody chasm,"
Nor for remoulding love was found a plasm, —
No kindly hand forgetfulness to fling
O'er scenes of blood, or lull resentment's sting.
Alas ! alas ! the fairest land the sun
E'er flung his golden, glad'ning beams upon.
20 THE WELDED LINK.
Where Nature's smiles enriched the fruitful soil,
And bounteous harvests crowned the laborer^s toil,
Where budding rose first greets returning spring,
The orange, laurel, and magnolia fling
Their frao^rant odors on the summer breeze,
AVhere every prospect greeted but to please,
Reigns devastation, dismal ruin, now,
And desolation rears liis scraggy brow.
No home of wealth and ease adorns the plain,
No lordly castle crowns the sloping crest.
Here heaps of broken walls alone are seen.
There piles of ashes greet the foretime guest;
No Eden bowers glad the searching eye,
No broad, fair fields of gently waving green.
The aching bosom heaves a deep-drawn sigh,
As saddened mem'ry brings another scene, —
A scene which once before the vision spread,
Where now bleak ruin reigns and hope is dead.
Were people ever in this changeful world
From wealth and plenty thus so rudely hurled,
Down, down the rugged steep 'mid beating gale
To hungry poverty's unhappy vale !
The future all seemed dark, the star of hope
Had faded from the Southern horoscope ;
But still the Southron — soldier now no more —
Bore bravely, hardships never known before.
Bore bravely all, and, loved ones to beguile,
While toiling strove to wear contentment's smile ;
And though deep care would often cloud his brow,
It was for food — not wealth — he labored now ;
THE WELDED LINK. 21
And year on year, with little else in view,
He wrought and strove, but yearly poorer grew.
For unpatched garments recked but little he,
Yet when his half-clad offspring climbed his knee,
And in their tender accents begged for ^^ bread,"
His scalding tears dropped on each tiny head ;
Then, going forth with many a choking sigh.
He prayed that he might feed those mouths or die !
Ah ! man can bear a heavy load of ill
If on himself alone, but when there are
Dependent, hungry mouths he cannot fill,
'Tis then he feels the tortures of despair, —
'Tis then that he, though ever true and brave,
Looks for deliverance only in the grave !
True, those brave men whose blood had freest flowed
Met eretime foes with outstretched, friendly hand.
Oblivion of the bitter struggle showed,
And kindly wish for peace throughout the land.
These harbored not resentment's cruel stins: ;
The warfare o'er, its weapons laid aside.
Their earnest aim the smiles of peace to bring,
And kindle hope and courage far and wide.
True, there were those who sword had never drawn.
Whose noble hearts could feel for others' woes,
And, when they saw the peaceful daylight's dawn,
Forgot that Southrons e'er had been their foes.
And these, with open heart and open hand.
Strewed blessings o'er the sadly stricken land.
True, there was one who while the war-blaze burned.
And Southrons solid stood, the Union's foes,
22 THE WELDED LINK.
Plis eye, from self and all, to country turned,
And to the height of patriot's duty rose.
A leviathan monarch of the deep —
His country's coifers empty now and bare —
He freely gave — a princely gift — to keep
That country's honor all unstained and fair.
Ahhough the snows of many winters lay
Upon his brow, and in the bloody fray
He might not enter, still, his country's need
Found in this noble son '^ a friend indeed.''
He half a million gave the Union cause.
To shield its honor and maintain its laws.
Yet when peace came, from his abundant store
He gave as much — and half a million more, —
An olive branch — substantial one — to those
Who late in warlike trappings stood his foes.
On yonder crest, near by Columbia's tide,
A noble temple rears its lofty fane,
The scholar's and the grateful Southron's pride.
The gift of one earth ne'er shall see again.
A monument 'twill be while time rolls on
To one unselfish, noble man, who, when
Foes grounded arms, sought like Jehovah's Son
To scatter " peace on earth, good will to men."
But here and there from hiding-places, sprung
Envenomed frauds who bore the names of men.
And who, when late the clang of battle rung,
Each, like the wily wolf within his den
Nursed safely there, his bitter, selfish ire,
And though he called it "patriotic fire"
THE WELDED LINK. 23
The misnomer bad ne'er the fraud relieved,
Deceived no other, nor himself deceived.
And yet, despite of better men than they, —
Who fain would hide the bitter past away, —
These kept alive the fires which ere while glowed,
While blood in overwhelming torrents flowed.
On deck of noble ship, far out at sea,
I stood one night in contemplation deep ;
The scene around, above, was grand to me
On every side as far as eye could sweep.
The silver moon like peerless jewel hung
Above the floating ether far away.
And on the waves her scintillations flung,
As if to lure the stars down there to play.
The gentle zephyrs stirred the sails aloft.
The white spray glistened in the silvery light,
The rippling wavelets murmured low and soft
Their homage to the modest queen of night.
Reflection whispered, " Down beneath the tide.
Among the hidden gems, as pure and bright
As these which on the waves around me ride.
And those up yonder 'luming sombre night, —
Down there are lying countless ^\•asted forms.
Once tenanted by passions, life's warm breath,
All heedless now of Ocean's wildest storms.
And sleeping in the cold embrace of death.
Whatever animosities they felt,
Whate'er of hatred or resentment knew.
While here on earth among their kind they dwelt,
The hand of death was potent to subdue.
24 THE WELDED LINK.
Perhaps the arms which erewhile madly strove —
Impelled by bitter hate or angry mind —
In deadly strife, now closely linked in love,
Are fondly and fraternally entwined.
Ah ! peace was reigning there, and peace above
Threw beams of hope and gladness o'er the scene,
While wave and zephyr whispered, " God is love,''
And this alone 'twixt men should intervene.
Dark passions rise, and hang like dismal pall
O'er reason's throne, and man's impulses sway.
But calm reflection dissipates them all.
And love will drive the darkest frown away.
The bitter fratricidal war was o'er.
But it had left a rankling, galling sore.
For yet the past, with dark, uncomely spot,
Blurred memory's page with acrimony's blot,
Till horrid death in pestilential form —
More horrid ev'n than famine, war, or storm —
The sunny South with hot sirocco fanned.
And death and sorrow spread all o'er the land.
The busy hum was hushed on mart and street.
The latter pressed alone by hurrying feet
Of Good Samaritan or anxious nurse,
Or — their work ended — overladen hearse.
Devoted priest and pastor, hand in hand,
Gentile and Jew alike together band,
Some consolation, some relief, to bring
To stricken victims, or to soothe death's sting.
Like angels, sisters, mercy's handmaids, go
From house to hovel, soothing wails of woe.
THE WELDED LINK. 25
A hallowed sweetness 'mid the gloom to spread,
And when life ceases sadly robe the dead ;
Nor falter they when warned and urged to fly,
For all their hearts are nerved to ^^do or die,"
Ev'n though the cost in this unequal strife
Of doing good to others must be life.
And many now, within the silent grave,
Sleep side by side with those they strove to save.
See yonder home, — a sweet household of seven ;
Two suns go down, and six of these from heav^i
Look down, and see the orphaned one again ;
They see her writhing now in ceaseless pain.
They see her rescued from the monster's grasp.
And see fond loving arms around her clasp.
From her, alas ! — though loving friends are left —
Life's sweetest charm is gone; she lives bereft
Of all 'round whom had wreathed her childhood's love.
But they have borne those tender wreaths above.
See here another, — once a happy home.
Where Santa Glaus had oft in gladness come.
At Christmas-time, with some well-chosen toy
For each fair innocent, diffusing joy.
Each eye and heart illuming with delight,
When on them broke the morning's rosy light.
He came last Christmas, gladdening treasures brung.
But paused dismayed ! Alas ! no stockings hung
In chimney corners ; rooms and walls were bare ;
Deep solitude alone held empire there.
All gone ! not one remained, — not one to tell
How one by one they suffered, bore, and fell.
26 THE WELDED LINK.
They sleep in peace until, immortal born,
They wake to life in resurrection's morn.
See yonder unassuming vine-clad cot,
A quiet, sacred, love-illumined spot.
Where concord reigned and plenty once was stored,
And sweet contentment crowned the homely board ;
Hear ye the wail that emanates from there?
It is a mother's voice in soul-wrung prayer;
She knows the arm that food and all supplied
Lies palsied, cold, and clammy by her side;
She knows that shelf and bin are empty now,
And death has placed his mark upon her brow.
Unselfish, she in bitter anguish cries, —
Her last, brief prayer perchance before she dies.
Bespeaking what is more than death, her dread, —
"O Father! send my starving children bread !"
'Tis o'er ! the mother's spirit wings its flight
Up to the realms of peace and love and light.
But angels fair had caught and borne each word
To One who leaves no suppliant unheard.
See yon rude hearse ; a wagon 'twas before.
But now a hearse because it carries more, —
Nor hearses could the constant need supply
For cartage of the dead, so fast they die —
O'erladen near the open gate it stands.
Till from the cottage door by hurrying hands
Two more cold forms in boxes rough are borne.
With none, alas! to follow or to mourn.
Upon the morning, noon, or evening air.
Amid the scenes of death and sorrow there,
THE WELDED LINK. 27
No souiicling monody of tolling bell
Rings out the solemn notes of funeral knell,
Nor does the cortege move with measured tread,
As when conveying to their graves the dead :
Too precious time solemnity to heed,
Far more important now unflagging speed.
On, on the wagon rolls, nor hindrance meets.
While rattling through the now deserted streets.
Till where the broken pave provokes rebound
Of fast-revolving wheels, when to the ground
A coffin falls, and 'neath the hot sun's glare,
Its heedless festering contents empties there.*
Ah ! many a helpless one too young to know
The value of a crown or weight of cross
Were orphans made, but spared the bitter woe
Of feeling, knowing how intense their loss.
In times like these the bravest heart might quail.
Not knowing whom the foe might next assail.
When husbands, careful only of their lives.
Deserted homes and brave, enduring wives.
When fathers, sons, and brothers — cravens they —
Could hie from pestilence and death away.
And, disregarding every sacred tie,
I^eave those they should have cherished there to die.
But yet remained some spirits brave and true,
Pure jewels which ^nid darkness brighter grew.
* I was told this actually occurred in Memphis, on Front
Street just below Union.
28 THE WELDED LINK.
And, in the catalogue of those whose fears
Hied them away, no mother's name appears ;
No sister left a dying brother's side.
From cruel pestilence and death to hide,
Nor was a husband, for the sake of life.
Deserted by a l)rave and patient wife.
No, no ! 'twas man alone (I blush to know
That so it was, yet .record proves it so)
Could recreant to the heart's impulses prove,
And to his fears for self yield sacred love.
Naught can such cold poltroonery condone,
Save death for those we love, and death alone.
Yet there were men who 'gainst the monster fouglit,
And fearlessly for suffering fellows wrought.
The sombre graveyard, piled with coffins, yawned
From shadowy eve till rosy morning dawned.
The silver moon with veiled and curtained sheen
Looked down in sadness on the gloomy scene ;
While through the night o'erburdened labor sped
The silent work of burying the dead,
And daylight brought them rest or respite none.
All day and night the dismal work went on,
The sun by day affording am23le light,
While blazing torches yielded it at night.
Nor dared the workers contemplate delay.
While fest'ring dead encoflfined 'round them lay.
O God ! were e'er such scenes of human woe
In wrath entailed on mortals here below !
Did pitying angels ever from yon spheres
Bedew such horrors with their pearly tears !
THE WELDED LINK. 29
Twas 'mid these scenes some gentle seraph caught
The inspiration, and divinely brought
Oblivion's mantle, flung it o'er the past,
And gave the monld in which were hearts recast.
Down from the North the cornucopia came,
While pestilence and hunger, with the flame
Of ebbing life toyed cruelly, till death,
In mercy, snatched away the victim's breath.
Ah, yes! the North had heard the plaintive cry.
Nor could she let it pass unheeded by;
Her true heart told her 'twas the cry of ^voe.
And whether it was wrung from friend or foe
She reckoned not, but to the rescue came.
And on immortal tablets carved her name.
Her sons and daughters came to soothe and save.
All heroines and heroes, true and brave ;
Upon the altar of fraternity
They laid their lives, mementoes there to be
Of WOMEN fliir, who had the heart and nerve
To brave grim death, humauity to serve;
Of MEN who walked the path the Saviour trod.
That led to duty, danger, and to God.
God rest their souls in purer realms than this.
And recompense with never-ending bliss.
She sent her lab'rer's gift, her widow's mite.
From noble ones who have the wolf to fight,
Who, if unlettered, yet had hearts to feel
Our bitter woes and strive to send us weal ;
30 THE WELDED LINK.
She sent from scholar, merchant, millionaire,
From all her noble sons, her daughters fair,
Of contributions overflowing mass,
Nor let one whispered want unheeded pass.
She clothed the naked, suffering Imngry f^i],
Supplied the cotless poor with soothing bod ;
Poured Arctic crystals down in ceaseless flood
To conquer fever, cool the burning blood ;
Sent panaceas, — balms for every pain —
Again, again repeating, and again.
Though deep the woes hurl'd by relentless fate,
The Southern heart congeals to contemplate
What might have been had not fraternal hand
Reached down with help from yonder Northern land !
Great God ! could dark resentment hold its head
Above the graves of hecatombs of dead.
For whom such loving efforts were — though vain —
Thus made to win them back to life again?
No, no ; the paths those brothers tread are paved
With thrice ten thousand prayers of those they saved.
And every Southern heart is fervid when
Responding to each benison. Amen !
We might resist the force of polished steel
Or fall beneath its stroke, and dying feel
Unyielding still ; nor might the crimson tide
Of life around us flowing dash aside
Or wash away the one dark, haunting spot
Which in us fratricidal strife begot.
THE WELDED LINK. 31
And yet — thank God ! — man's nature is not all
A mass of ill; and even though his fall
Corrupted and envenomed much of good,
It left him still the pearl of gratitude;
A jewel, faultless, peerless as a star,
Unscath'd, undimm^l, untouched by smoke of war.
Nay, ev'n grows brighter 'mid the din of strife,
And lives the one pure principle of life.
And had he heart to hide that pearl away
When that, and that alone, in part could pay
A sacred debt for Christ-like charity.
Less man than fiend tartari'n he would be.
Thus while, like hend, the pest in darkness came
And kindled on each hearth his yellow flame,
Too soon to banish every dream of joy.
At morn, at noonday, and at night destroy
With ruthless hand — malignant spirit blind, —
Loved ones 'round whom had hearts on hearts entwined,
A ray of hope around and o'er us flung
Its glad'ning beams, while angel voices rung
The sweet refrain, which joy awakened when
It first was heard, "Peace and good will to men.''
We know each Southron from his scanty store
Drew forth his ofl^'ring, sorrowing 'twas no more.
To meet the wants and soothe the deep distress
Of stricken brethren, nor could he do less.
But yonder Northmen, foes we once believed,
Who from our lips had bitter taunts received.
32 THE WELDED LINK.
Upon us richest treasures freely poured ,
Till empty bin and purse were amply stored.
^' Contagion'^ swept like wave of solid fire —
Death in its train and desolation dire —
O'er homes and hearthstones, towns and cities fair,
And left its countless sad mementoes there.
But while it thus with burning, poisonous breath
Filled all the sunny South with woe and death,
It fairer was, more pleasing plumage wore.
Up yonder North, and unresisted bore
The balm of life and every human good.
While from its Avings dripped streams of brotherhood.
Down here 'twas death, 'gainst which we vainly strove.
Up there 'twas life, and charity, and love;
Down here it wore a dark, repulsive mien,
Up there it spread a charm o'er every scene ;
Down here its path was marked by sore distress.
Up there it lived and spread alone to bless ;
Down here its work was suff'ring and the grave,
Up there its mission was to soothe and save ;
Down here it burned the blood, the pulses stilled.
And silent, yawning graveyards swiftly filled ;
Hung o'er the land a solid sheet of black.
And every ray of cheering light drove back ;
Made countless orphans here, on every hand
The voice of mourning woke through all the land ;
From twice ten thousand hearthstones drove away
The joys, the hopes, the peace of happy day.
And ov^r all, as with a leprous blight.
Spread gloom more dismal than the darkest night.
THE LITTLE FADED DRESS. 33
But still, with free, unstinted hand, nor lack
Of love, those brothers strove to soothe our woes,
To fold and roll the gloomy curtain back,
Nor paused to think we e'er had been their foes.
And one more ne'er-to-be-forgotten name
Was carved on Southern hearts when Benner came.
The white flag waves ! Our hearts are conquered now ;
The frown of hate has fled the Southron's brow ;
Our gratitude, unclaimed, is freely giv'n,
Our vows of love are registered in Heav'n.
And may the brotherhood, oppression-born.
In dear Columbia's uncertain morn,
And now reborn in her maturer life,
Oblivion fling o'er bitterness and strife, —
Cemented be in one unbroken chain,
To stronger grow and ne'er abrade again;
And may we ever be in deathless love
One brotherhood on earth and one above.
THE LITTLE FADED DKESS.
Fold it, wrap it gently, neatly.
Tender mem'ries round it cling,
Whisp'ring ever softly, sweetly.
Echoes of the past to bring, —
Echoes, mem'ries fondly cherished.
Though with sadness overcast.
But, till mother's love has perished.
Sacred, precious to the last.
34 THE LITTLE FADED DRESS.
Fold it smoothly, let no wrinkle
O'er its folds unseemly spread,
Then let crystal love-clrops sprinkle
Every fold and every thread ;
So embalm it with affection
That each fold shall drip a sigh,
And through all the retrospection
Love shall beam that cannot die.
Fold it lovingly and softly.
Let not glaring light of day
O'er it glimmer, heedless, rudely.
Lay it tenderly away;
And when heart would hold communion
With the loved one now at rest.
Bring it forth, 'twill cement union
^Twixt the living and the blest.
Fold it carefully ; though faded.
Hide it from unfeeling eye,
Like the weary heart all jaded,
'Twill be brighter by and by,
When, at life's soft balmy even.
All its cares and sorrows past.
And in yonder peaceful lieaven
Babe and mother meet at last.
MINNIE'S FAREWELL. 35
I AM dying, mother, dying,
Death's dark shadows gather fast,
Life's young breath is swiftly flying
And its dream will soon be past.
I can feel the cold chill creeping
'Round my heart like icy chain,
And I know I'll soon be sleeping
Ne'er to wake on earth again.
Ah ! I know my going, mother.
Will distress your loving heart.
As 'twill father, sisters, brother.
But 'tis better that we part,
For, where bright sweet streams are flowing,
And where happy angels are,
I am going, mother, going.
And you all can join me there.
I am dying, mother, dying,
Give me now your parting kiss,
While the zephyrs round me sighing
Whisper promises of bliss;
Whisper promises all teeming.
Like your fond caress, with love,
And they lull my heart to dreaming
Of my flow'ry home above.
* A lovino^ memento of Minnie Pullen Heflin.
36 MINNIE'S FAREWELL.
I am young and sinless, motlier,
With a heart from sorrow free,
And the world seems robed in flowers
Bright and beautiful to me, —
Bright and beautiful, and throwing
Floods of fragrance on the air.
But up yonder, where I'm going,
I shall find them sweeter there.
I am dying, mother, dying.
Place your hand upon ray brow.
Where the cold death-dew is lying.
For I have no fever now.
I can see the warm tears flowing,
And they tell of grief and pain.
But there's precious balm in knowing
That we all shall meet again.
You have always loved me, mother,
And you love me fondly yet,
And I know that you will never
In the coming years forget.
On my grave you'll plant sweet flowers.
Though I slumber far away.
And then early spring-time blossoms
Will remind you of to-day.
I am dying, mother, dying,
Press again your lips to mine, •
And, fond love the strength supplying.
Let my arms your neck entwine.
MINNIE'S FAREWELL. 37
Oh ! if thus, we could together
Death's dark, gloomy vale explore,
Clinging fondly to each other,
Then my heart could ask no more ;
But bright angels there will guide me
And protect me from all harm,
Nor can ever ill betide me,
So you need not feel alarm.
You will think of me, dear mother.
In the morn, at noon, at night,
And my spirit will be near you,
Although hidden from your sight.
I am dying, mother, dying,
Life's warm tide is ebbing fast.
And its sands so swiftly flying
That I almost see the last;
And I know I soon shall slumber
Neath the cold and heedless sod.
But I'll wake to live up yonder
With my Saviour and my God.
Life has been to me like dreaming.
Childhood's dreaming, free from care,
Always pleasant, joyous, seeming
Ever cloudless, bright, and fair ;
Yet I yield it, nor appal me
Death's cold chills that o'er me come.
For I hear the angels call me,
And they wait to bear me home.
I am dying, mother, dying,
Fade your features from my sight,
38 ^ MAN.
And death's shadows now are lying
O'er the eyes you thought so bright ;
Vanish now the scenes surrounding,
Scenes embahned in childhood's love,
And I hear the chorists sounding
Sweetest melodies above.
Oh ! if ransomed spirits ever
Back to scenes of earth may come,
I shall cease to visit never
This my childhood's happy home.
Now farewell, I'm going, mother.
Where I go your heart knows well ;
Meet me sisters, meet me brother,
Mother, father, all, farewell !
I SAW a sturdy oak, on which had beat
The tempest's wrathful fury, oft and long.
Yet which 'mid winter's cold and summer's heat,
'Mid storms and all, had stood erect and strong.
It met alike the wild tornado's rage,
The cooling breeze and gentle zephyr's breath ;
Wore bravely, grandly, marks of hoary age,
And yielded only to the stroke of death.
Beneath its ample, broadly-spreading boughs
It gave protection, pleasure, grateful rest.
A MAN. 39
From summer's scorching rays and winter^s snows,
And those who found its shelt'ring shades w^ere blest.
And yet, while there it stood before us all,
Although esteemed, its worth was barely known;
And this is human nature : men recall
And recognize their value, friends, when gone.
I knew a noble man, upon whose head
His eighth decade had set its snowy seal.
And each year seemed upon his life to shed
New light, the gems of genius to reveal.
He honored was by every balanced mind,
Cold envy even, held its cankrous breath.
While lurking malice strove in vain, to find
Some mark, or taint to tell of moral death.
Firm as the waveworn, adamantine rock
On which the stormy billows long had dashed,
Unmoved, unscarr'd by tempest's rudest shock,
Intrepid, fearless, steadfast, unabashed.
His high-toned soul — that scorned whate'er was small
Or inconsistent with man's high estate —
No danger could, though death seemed near, appal.
Nor frowning obstacles intimidate.
Endowed by nature with a massive mind,
A will more dauntless than the human soul,
He marked his course, obstructions brushed behind,
And pressed, with zeal unflagging, for his goal.
And was it strange that such a man should meet.
Alone, success, o'er every foe prevail !
40 ^ MAN.
The record shows he never knew defeat,
Nor knew he ever what it was to fail.
Eventful, long, and useful his career,
And when the end was slowly drawing nigh,
While loving ones around shed many a tear.
He calmly dosed his ei/es,"^ without a sigh
Passed from the scenes in wliich his life had taught
A lesson grand, with truths substantial rife.
Passed from the sphere in which he long had wrought,
Passed through Death's portals to a higher life.
His monument! For monument what need !
And where could one appropriately stand !
He gave unasked, the wants of foemen heed.
And blessed their offspring and their ruined hmd ;
And oil each grateful heart now throbbing there,
Obliterating bitter mem'ries past,
Plis name stands graven prominent and fair.
And so will stand while life itself shall last.
Then yonder, where his useful life was spent.
Where first, and last, he glimpsed the morning light.
His name is with vast enterprises blent;
And if imposing column rose, 'twould seem but right
It should be there. But pause: for his own hand
And mind and heart, which left few counterparts.
In South and North reared up memorials grand.
And wrote his name on myriads of hearts.
* A literal fact, and an anomalous one.
TO MY WIFE. 4I
And then, from yon grand pile which his free hand,
And broad munificence, so proudly reared
To scatter lioht and knowledo-e o'er the land
By cruel war and desolation seared, —
From there, all o'er the country far and wide,
And e'en to lands which yet no Saviour know,
Beyond the calm Pacific's briny tide,
A host of living monuments will go.
His noble character and worth were known
While yet the light of life illumed his brow.
Were held in high esteem, and yet we own
Were never fully known so well as now.
Upon his like we never looked before, —
So grand, yet without vain ostent and plain, —
And feel, while Death's stern mandate we deplore.
We ne'er shall look upon his like again.
TO MY WIFE.
We are growing old together
While along life's way we glide.
As in every phase of weather
We have journeyed side by side.
From its springtime, smiling valley,
To its wintry, snowy crown.
From the hill-base to the summit.
But we now are going down.
42 TO MY WIFE.
We are growing old together,
And old Time's resistless snows
Have fall'n gently as a feather,
And are resting on our brows.
Yet these signs are but external, —
Surface emblems only are, —
For our hearts are young and vernal,
And no snows can enter there.
We are growing old together.
And anon, have sometimes met
Cold indifference from some brother.
And have felt it keenly; yet,
We have borne all unrepining.
And have seen when clouds o'ercast.
To each one a silver lining.
Which dispersed the gloom at last.
We are growing old together.
Soon our journey here must end,
But still fondly with each other
Shall our lives in concord blend
Till "the golden bowl be broken,"
Then together may we soar
Up to where, on angel's pinions.
We have loved ones gone before.
We are growing old together
As " adown life's stream we glide,"
But affection knows not whether
We are on the wintry side,
TO MY WIFE. 43
For sweet confidence is growing
More enduring, more sublime,
And our hearts with love are glowing,
Smiling at corroding time.
We are growing old together.
And the loved ones round us now,
Make us dearer to each other,
As we gaze upon each brow,
And reflect that these were given.
But to bless our happy home.
And, while pointing us to Heaven,
Smooth our pathway to the tomb.
We are growing old together.
Oh ! be ours the cheering thought,
When death's shadows round us gather.
That we have not lived for naught;
Tliat we've zealous been in doing
Duties that before us lay.
And as zealous in pursuing
Him, ''the truth, the life, the way.''
We are growing old together,
Yet our love age cannot chill,
Ties that bound our hearts together,
Are as sweet and binding still.
Thus shall through the life remaining,
Till its scenes and dreams be past,
All their vigor still retaining,
Hold those links unto the last.
44 TWO FEARS AGO TO-DAY.
We are growing old together,
And whatever fate may send,
'^ Sunshine^s smiles or wintry weather,''
We will journey to the end ;
Then, in fields all fair and blooming,
Where our "■ loved and lost" ones are,
'Mong bright angels sweetly roaming.
May we live together there.
Sardis, Miss., April, 1878.
TWO YEARS AGO TO-DAY.
Two years ago to-day, when pestilence
Raged round my humble home on every side, —
A foe that seemed to mock at all defence —
And scatter death and sorrow far and wide, —
Electric sparks, that flashed with lightning speed
Along the wires, were watched with bated breath.
They told us of the monster's cruel greed.
And of the scenes of sorrow and of death ;
And yet, as if 'twere guided by some hand.
It did not to our quiet village come,
But, heark'ning to, perhaps, divine command.
It Sardis spared, and spared my peaceful home.
But still, two years ago to-day, there came
With stealthy step within my open door
A visitor whom men like not to name,
Because he always brings afflictions sore.
TWO FEARS AGO TO-DAY. 45
With cold, unfeeling, noiseless tread he comes
Where all is pleasant, peaceful, bright, and fair.
Invades the sacred atmosphere of homes,
Inflicts his blow and leaves deep sorrow there.
He visits these, to strike with fatal dart.
Some one 'round whom affections fondly twine.
Strikes that one down, and wounds each loving heart
Surviving, and, 'twas thus he came to mine.
And shall I e'er forget that autumn morn.
Bright though it was, the sun careering high.
And flowers blooming, nature to adorn.
That sunlight's glow was stricken from my sky?
Ah, no! for then my cup, once filled with joy.
Was overflowed from sorrow's bitter well.
For death had stricken down my precious boy.
And rung through all my home a dismal knell ;
And though, upon time's ever active wing.
Ten thousand morns may dawn and pass away.
That one will never dawn which e'er can fling
Oblivion o'er two years ago to-day.
Yet, like the riven oak, whose stricken heart
Has been by lightning-bolt from heaven cleft.
And still survives the stroke of fiery dart,
I have a bright green spot — a hope — still left;
Ah, yes ! a hope, a strong abidhig faith,
A faith which stronger grows as wheeling time
Rolls on his course, and brings me nearer death,
And 'tis as cheering as it is sublime ;
46 A RAINY DAY.
It brightens all my dreams in darkest night,
It gilds my sky with hope through all the day,
Tells me I shall, in yonder workl of light,
Meet him who died two years ago to-day.
And I am now to heaven's will resigned, —
I know my precious boy is 'mong the blest, —
And I await Avitli calm and placid mind,
The summons which shall call me there to rest.
I only pray and hope, that I may be
As " ready" to respond when death shall call,
And leave as pure a record as did he.
Example to my loved ones and to all, —
A comfort which the world can never give.
Yet which, Avhen given, naught can take away;
And to this end I strive and pray and live.
Like him who died two years ago to-day.
Malvern, Sept. 6, 1880.
A RAINY DAY.*
I'm sad, and yet I know not why,
I feel no twinge or touch of pain.
But sit me here and think and sigh,
And look out through the drizzling rain.
* A slow, sluggish rain has been drizzling down all day from
low, misty clouds, and scarcely a breath of air is stirring.
A RAINY DAY. 47
It patters slowly, slowly down,
Although the skies wear scarce a frown,
And clouds break now and then away, —
But I have seen no sun to-day.
The air hangs heavy, not a leaf
Is stirring on the drooping trees.
Which seemingly are bowed in grief,
Or pining for a southern breeze.
The birds, with closely-folded wing,
Are hid away and do not sino- :
A gloomy sadness seems to be
Spread o'er the earth as over me.
Comes now a contemplative mood ;
I'm sad, and ask myself, why so ?
The query gives reflection food.
Yet why I'm sad I do not know.
I only know despondency
Is hanging burdensome on me
Like lead upon my heart to weigh,
And that I've seen no sun to-day.
U one day's clouded sky can fling
O'er heart and mind so dark a pall.
It Avould the soul with anguish wring.
To live where beams no light at all ;
And yet there is a world where night
Is never cheered by ray of light.
Where darkness reigns supreme, and where
It echoes wailings of despair.
Here, though the sun shines not to-day,
To-morrow may be light and fair,
And clouds may all have passed away ;
But, oh ! there's no to-morrow there !
^Tis " outer darkness,'' dismal gloom,
The sealing of eternal doom ;
Nor hope one glimm'ring ray can shed.
For hope is there forever dead.
But there's another world, so bright
That neither star, nor moon, nor sun
Is needed to afford it light,
For clouds and darkness are unknown.
Oh ! may I in that world serene,
That world where tears are never seen.
And 23eace pervades each heart and mind,
From clouds and storms a refuge find !
Sardls, Miss., Sept. 1, 1880.
How calmly floats the April evening breeze,
How softly lingers on this emerald crest.
How gently stirs and sways the neighb'ring trees,
All in their lovely vernal foliage drest !
Ten thousand gems bespangle hill and plain,
Ten thousand glitt'ring jewels o'er the green,
Dropp'd from the sky this morn, and still remain,
To picture innocence in peerless sheen.
Far from the noisy bustle, busy throng,
No startling sounds upon the silence break,
Save when the iron chargers speed along.
On yonder ways, and shrill, sharp echoes wake.
The sun is fast declining, and the scene
O'er which his fading flashes flit and dance.
Is all suggestive, quietly serene.
As on it softly falls his parting glance.
And as the stilly twilight shades creep on.
Ere yet the darker pall of night appear,
And earthly scenes their robes of slumber don,
I muse upon the bones now mould'ring here.
From yonder tow'ring staff* on central ground.
Floats calmly, as the gentle breezes swell.
Above each granite headstone, turf-grown mound,
The Stars and Stripes, 'neath which the sleepers fell.
'Twas not my banner then, for Southron's brow
Wore only frowns whene'er it came in view ;
But times have changed, and 'tis my banner now.
The flag to which I shall henceforth be true.
50 EL EOF.
When those who slumber here were called from home
That banner to defend in bloody strife,
The gray-haired sire, the son in manhood's bloom,
Responded, and devotion proved with life.
They, uncomplaining, hardships met and bore;
The winter's snows and rains, the summer's heat,
Came bravely where they ne'er had been before.
The dangers of the Southern clime to meet.
And more, — the dangers of the Southern steel,
The Southern whistling shot and shrieking shell.
Well knowing few down here would wish them weal,
Or care what ill or fate upon them fell.
The feeling of the Southern heart was bitter then.
But this, thank God ! has long since passed away.
Though many a hill and valley, fiekl and glen,
Bear sad mementoes of the deadly fray.
Here now where hundreds sleep in calm repose,
Nor burning suns nor flying missiles dread,
I think no more of them as erewhile foes,
But only as the calmly slumbering dead, —
As fellow-men who, in the years gone by.
Were wont among familiar scenes to roam.
Nor thought, nor dreamed, that they at last should die.
Or fall in sanguine strife, afar from home.
Perhaps yon headstone marks the resting-place
Of one who bade farewell to weeping wife,
And tore himself from her last fond embrace,
To see that loved one ne'er ajrain in life:
Or yonder sleeps, perchance, a cherished son.
For whom a mother's heart was wont to thrill
With that warm love to mothers only known ;
And if she lives, I know she loves him still.
He was, perhaps, in life her pride, her joy,
And it may be, alas ! he was her all ;
It tore her heart to yield her darling boy.
And yet she gave him at her conntry's call.
He bore her benison npon his head ;
The parting brought to each a bitter pain.
But onward " to the front'' the soldier sped,
And son and mother never met again.
While she, ])erhaps, all wrinkled now and gray.
Still holds that soklier boy to memory dear,
Sheds silent tear-drops o'er him far away.
He, all unconscious, calmly slumbers here.
I would that stricken mother and her son,
When all life's trials and its storms are o'er,
And she her life's last snowy thread has spun.
May meet again upon sweet Aidenn's shore.
Down yonder, doubtless, sleeps a gray-haired sire,
Who felt impelled by patriotic love
To doff his homely garb for war's attire.
And love of country with his life to prove.
And many a winter eve, since then, has stood
Beside the glowing hearth an empty chair,
And round the frugal board, the habitude
Of vacant seat, has been apparent there.
The baby boy whose life had scarce began,
Affection's last pure pledge, and doubly dear.
Is now a rosy, hearty, stalwart man.
The image of the father who sleeps here.
There sleeps a brother, whom a sister's tears,
A sister's love, a sister's earnest prayer,
Gave strength in life and have embalmed for years,
Since he in death's calm sleep has ^rested here.
And all these fell, far, far away from home.
No loved ones near to catch their parting breath,
To 'lumine or relieve the silent gloom.
Or tenderly to close their eyes in death.
Shall I, who in the straggle wore the gray.
While those who now lie sleeping here wore blue.
Adjudge my comrades and myself than they
More honest, or to principle more true?
No, God forbid ! for had their home been mine,
I too liad seen my duty as did they,
With them perhaps had fallen into line,
And worn, like them, the blue and not the gray.
A stand-point here, and one of yon will give,
Two different views of all surrounding scenes.
Then why dispute, or why should anger live ?
Death covers all whene'er that intervenes.
The men who fought and fell, and now repose
In dreamless sleep, to wake on earth no more.
Save only in war's parlance, were not foes.
And those who lived were friends when war was o'er.
For I remember well the closing scene :
The vanquished, half-starved Southrons lacked for
And those 'gainst whom they four long years had been
In deadly strife, their ere while foemen fed.
And doubtless in the unexplored beyond,
Some who had shed each other's blood have met,
And there rebound the loosed fraternal bond.
Which here, perchance, they severed with regret.
And ev'n if they were enemies before,
All that is o'er since they have crossed death's wave,
They met in peace upon the other shore, —
There is no enmity beyond the grave.
Perhaps, could we, by telephonic cords,
Communication have from yonder world,
Our ears would catch as soft fraternal words
From these, as from the hosts whose flag is furled.
Perhaps they all would sound the same refrain, —
I doubt it not since war's dark storm is o'er, —
And say to us, " Let peace prevail again.
And harmony and love forever more.''
Thank God ! the scenes of earth ne'er mar the rest
Of those up there, who only concord know,
Else they had oft and sorely, been distressed
O'er discord long apparent here below.
As now I pass among these turf-grown mounds,
^Neath yonder banner floating o'er the dead,
I reck not foes as slumb'rers in these grounds.
But walk among them with uncovered head.
And though, perchance, in life I never knew
A single one who now lies sleeping here,
I feel that they in life were brave and true.
And, somewhere, tender memory holds them dear
Ah ! fain would I — and joy 'twould give me too —
Sink hates and discords in oblivion's caves.
Or bury them beyond ev'n memory's view.
And gladly heap the sod upon their graves.
5JC JJ^ ^ 'K 'I* *}*
THE PHANTOM-TRAIN. 55
But evening shadows come apace, and I
Must leave these precincts with the parting day,
Yet fain would drop a tear and breathe a sigh,
Mementoes for bereaved ones far away.
Rest here in peace, ye silent, slumbering dead !
No more the din of war and strife to hear,
And yet each one within his lowly bed.
Will ever be by hearts somewhere held dear.
Hist! a whisper, distant whisper,
Softly yet distinctly, comes ;
Is it rustling of a wisp, or
Can it be the roving gnomes ?
* During the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, while it was
raging at Memphis and Grenada, the termini of the Mississippi
and Tennessee Kailroad, and later at Hernando, Horn Lake,
Senatobia, and Garner, intermediate villages, a train was kept
constantly employed conveying contributions and nurses to the
stricken localities, and now and then bearing a sick or dead person.
This train was shunned at every other place, and only allowed to
stop at quarantine stations and take on food, clothing, etc., that
had been placed there in advance of its coming. The men en-
gaged on it, who bravely exposed themselves to serve their suffer-
ing fellow-men, were Messrs. C. P. Bellinger, P. E. Bakewell,
and Robert Shankle, conductors. The last died, and the first had
the fever and recovered. Messrs. W. A. Hume, Albert Jehl, Joe
Sheridan, .J. Wonegar, and Joe Hallows, engineers. The last
died, and Mr. Hume had the fever and recovered. John P. Eason
56 "THE PHANTOM-TRAIN.
Phantoms roaming in the gloaming
As the night shades gather round !
Phantoms in the darkness coming
On some ghostly errand bound ?
Hark ! be silent now and listen !
As it falls upon our ears,
Come to mind the stories pristine
Which aroused our childhood's fears, -
Stories of the ghost and goblin !
Roaming in the dismal night,
Riding, rushing, creeping, hobblin'.
Childhood's heart to fill with fright !
Hist ! What is it ? Now it clearer
Sounds upon the sweeping breeze.
Nearer draws it ; nearer, nearer.
Sending forth a labored wheeze.
Listen ! What a chatter, chatter !
Chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter !
What a rumbling and a clatter !
Clinking, ringing, clatter, clatter !
What a noisy creaking, creaking !
Hark ! hear that unearthly shrieking !
Shrieking as of demons damned,
Shrieking as ten thousand devils
Goaded by their sins and evils.
And in fiery furnace crammed.
(white), Tom Mister, Stephen Eatcliffe, Henry Johnson, and Ely
Birge (colored), brakemen. The first four of these died, as did
Joe Petty (colored), fireman.
THE PHANTOM-TRAIN. 57
Hear that noise of rolling thunder !
Stand we now in dread amaze !
See, it conies, behold it yonder !
Sparks emitting, all ablaze !
Kumbling, whisking, chatter, cliatter!
Clinking, clashing, clatter, clatter !
Darkness seems in friglit to scatter.
Scatter and to yield the way,
As avoiding fearful fray.
On it rushes, as defying
Everything before it lying,
Every obstacle opposing.
Head and front of fire disclosino^.
Faster now it comes and faster !
As 'twere fleeing from disaster;
Faster, faster, faster, faster!
Is it wild, or docs a master
Touch some nerve to cause that clatter !
And that chatter, chatter, chatter !
Hark, that shriek ! What is the mattei"?
What's the matter? What's the matter?
Now it dashes, and it flashes !
And it plashes,, gnashes, clashes !
And away through darkness dashing
It goes lumbering and flashing,
Through the darkness, wind, and rain.
Ah ! it is the phantom-train.
As it passed we saw a shimmer,
Pale and faintly flick'ring glimn
58 THE PHANTOM-TRAIN.
. Which a sort of glamour shed
O'er a mysterious object near it,
Which does not heed the noise, nor hear it,
For it lies there cold and dead.
Ghostly train ! off yonder flying,
Bears the sick, perhaps the dying,
W^hom no care or skill can save;
And when life has all departed,
Leaves survivors, broken-hearted,
Then bears loved ones to the grave !
It is gone, but as it passed us,
Something told us of disasters,
Both behind it and before it.
Which threw ghastly glamour o'er it :
Told of pestilence and horror.
Yesterday, to-day, to-morrow,
Tortured people, writhing, groaning,
While the air around was droning
With a solemn, dismal moaning,
Grief of stricken hearts intoning
O'er the dying and the dead, —
Told of these and of the weeping
O'er the loved whom Death was sweeping,
Or was reaping, madly reaping
Down with sharp and cruel blade ;
Told that sisters, wives, and mothers.
Husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers.
Gentle daughters fair as houris
(Such as grace sweet fairy stories),
THE PHANTOM- TEA IN. 59
Told that innocence and beauty,
All, the monster claimed as booty,
Claimed he these, nor claimed them per se,
But by scores, and without mercy.
Swept them off with glutton greed,
Nor would cries for mercy heed.
:^ :^ :^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
From the hoary-headed patriarch to the infant in the
From the wrinkled, trembling grand-dame to the maiden
in her charms,
The Israelite and Christian, men of every race and
Neither, races, age, nor sexes did the cruel monster heed ;
But the layman, priest, and pastor.
And the servant and the master.
And the bridegroom and his bride,
AVere all visited and stricken.
And at once began to sicken.
And their blood to heat and thicken.
And their pulses all to quicken.
Ceased to beat, and then they died.
And were buried side by side, —
Buried without book or bell.
For so rapidly they fell.
There was neither time for knell.
Nor a hand to toll the bell ;
All the hands and all the moments were demanded to
The dead through all the daytime, and through the
night's torch-lighted gloom.
(50 THE PHANTOM-TRAIN.
Business all along reposed,
All its avenues were closed,
Trade and traffic were forgotten in the gloom pervading
Doctors, Howards, cooks, and nurses,
And the improvised rude hearses,
And grave-diggers, scores on scores,
Commissaries dealing stores.
The committee-men on duty.
And railroaders brave and sooty,
With a handful of newspaper men.
And a telegrapher now and then.
Numbered all who in this dreary season active business
But through all the burning summer, till beyond the
frost of fall.
Though these were ever busy. Death was busier than
Yet the phantom-train kept going,
All the men upon it showing
A courage unsurpassed in all the annals of mankind ;
For they knew death hovered near them,
It could strike, but could not scare them
From conveying contributions to their sorely-stricken
And each with placid mind,
And to every danger blind,
Stood at the post of duty, there through danger to
And they ate, and slept, and travelled on the ghostly
THE PHANTOM-TRAIN. Qi
Till many of them died,
And their places were supplied
On the train
Which through rain
And through heat
Went to meet
Death and suffering such as never had been known
down here before, —
Went to meet them, nor did tarry,
Went to meet them and to carry
Food and nurses to afflicted ones whose sufferings were
And to carry heaps of treasure
Which was lavished without measure
By those we had regarded as our enemies before.
May Heaven bless them ever.
And may afflictions never
Upon them fall like unto that their Southern brethren
And may it never come
To our dear sunny home,
To wrap it all in sorrow and in gloom and woe again:
But if perchance it should,
Then we pray, for human good,
We shall hear again the clatter of the ghostly phantom-
(52 GONE TO HIS REST.
GONE TO HIS EEST.
[Kead on tlie occasion of the Memorial Service of Mr. Benbury
Walton, at the Methodist Episcopal Church South, at Sardis,
Miss., Feb. 10, 1878.]
When loved ones lean in faith and prayer
Upon the Saviour's breast,
" And breathe their lives oat sweeetly there,"
Then soar away to rest ;
We watch them through the silent vale,
As — now no more oppres't
By pain and sickness — they prevail
O'er all, and mount to rest ;
We mourn them, and perchance rebel
At nature's stern behest;
Forgetting that with them ^' all's well,"
And they have gone to rest.
Gone to his rest ! Oh ! sweet the thought.
The loved one with the blest ;
By precious blood so freely bought.
He now has gone to rest.
GONE TO HIS REST. (53
liife's battles and its trials o'er,
Its clouds and storms all past,
How calmly, sweetly did he soar,
Away to heav'n and rest.
The wearied mind and body freed
From every pain and pest.
No longer earthly troubles heed,
The soul has found its rest.
No more his kindly words of love
Our roving thoughts arrest;
We know his home is now above,
And he is there at rest.
No more his voice in prayer and song
Will cheer the Christian's breast.
Until we join th' immortal throng.
Up in that world of rest.
His long-used seat is vacant here,
But yonder with the blest.
He has a seat triumphant tliere.
And peace, and joy, and rest.
Our tears we mingle here to-night,
But God knows what is best ;
And every tear should sparkle bright.
The sufferer's now at rest.
In yonder world all bright and fair —
Those mansions of the blest —
We'll meet and "know each other there,"
And there together rest.
Farewell, dear brother! May we all meet
Up there among the blest,
And in communion pure and sweet
Have one eternal rest.
With cheeks that shame the blushing rose,
And lips that rival cherry's glow.
An alabastrian neck, like those
Which sculptors model — white as snow —
With eyes, that seemingly have caught
A lustre from the starry realm.
And which bespeak a wealth of thought.
Life's gloom, with light, to overwhelm ;
With smile that comes like ray of light,
A gladness o'er the heart to fling.
As comes the sun, at morning bright.
To gladden all the flowers of spring;
With voice so soft and sweet in song
Calypso's nymphs had paused awhile —
Could they have heard — and wished it long
To thrill across the fairy isle.
* Miss Pattie Sledcre.
With these, and graces yet untold
Of form and face, and mind and heart,
A picture I to thee unfold,
A copy tame of what thou art.
Sardis, Miss., June 14, 1880.
What will I call you? Ah ! 'twere easy to ask ;
But how can I answer you fairly ;
The penchant for misnomers makes it a task,
For, correct names are given but rarely.
And yet, where's the odds ! It is said that a rose,
Call it fennel, or serpent, or Ute —
Or any repulsive misnomer you choose —
It will take away none of its beauty.
But should I drop yours, you may be very sure
For a substitute I'll not exchangee ill :
There's only one other in exchange I'd endure —
And perhaps 'twere more fitting — 'tis angel.
Nomenclature holds but a few names so sweet.
And I'm sure it contains none more charmino: ;
^N'one more poetic, more bird-like, more neat.
All prejudice completely disarming.
* Miss Lucile W. Gallovva}-; since married, and now Mrs.
James V. Fussell.
QQ WE HAVE' FURLED IT.
And when it is borne so fitting as now, —
And the beautiful only should bear it, —
I think as I gaze on that fair, lovely brow,
It is proper the owner should wear it.
Sincerely, fair maiden, I wish for your weal.
And I think that till Hymen shall thrall you,
I shall know you alone as gentle Lucile,
And by that charming name I will call you.
WE HAVE FURLED IT.
ANSWER TO '^THE CONQUERED BANNER.^^
We have furled it ; slowly, sadly ;
Once we bore it proudly, gladly,
And we fought beneath it madly, —
Fought in bloody, deadly fray, —
For we swore to those who gave it.
That in triumph we would wave it,
Or life's crimson tide should lave it.
Ere to blue should yield the gray.
Onward, fearless, 'mid the rattle.
And the din and smoke of battle.
While death hurtled on the air ;
We have borne it, never counting
Cost, while on the rampart mounting
Every obstacle surmounting.
But to plant that banner there,
WE HAVE FURLED IT. 07
Yes ; 'tis taken down, all faded,
And, like those who bore it, jaded.
For through lakes of blood they waded.
Nor did weary footsteps lag.
Oh ! 'twas hard to fold and yield it.
While a man was left to shield it, —
Or a sword and arm to wield it, —
For 'twas Dixie's bonnie flag.
Yes, we furled it ; all in sorrow,
Nor could hope or comfort borrow
From the promise of the morrow.
For our flag had ceased to wave;
And we knew, no more defying
Foes, we'd see it o'er us flying,
Us to cheer, to soothe the dying.
For 'twas furled o'er Dixie's grave.
Furled it, for the hands that held it.
While the foe with fury shelled it.
And had torn but never felled it.
Now, alas ! were cold and dead.
Now that Banner, which so proudly
Thousands owned and cheered so loudly.
And not one e'er followed cow'dly.
Never more would spread a fold.
Furled it ; to unfold it never.
For we'd made our last endeavor.
And that banner hence, forever.
Must a tattered emblem be
68 WE HAVE FURLED IT.
Of the hopes dead comrades nourished.
Hopes we all so fondly cherished,
Hopes that have forever perished,
Perished in a bloody sea.
Those who bore that banner loved it,
And though conquered they have proved it
Upon many a field of strife ;
They have borne it when 'twas riven,
When by fiery tempests driven,
For its triumph fought and striven.
And to shield its honor given
Heart and arm, and blood and life.
We have furled it, but its story
Of misfortune and of glory,
Until unborn heads are hoary,
History and allegory
Will preserve in colors bright ;
And the hero hands that bore it.
While the shrieking missiles tore it.
And its foemen fell before it, —
Hands which can no more restore it, —
Ne'er will fade from memory's sight.
Furled it when the hosts dismembered.
All their hopes and visions embered.
Furled it sadly, but remembered
That its record stainless stood ;
That no coward hands had borne it.
Foes, though conq'ring, could not scorn it ;
OVR DEAD COMRADES. 69
Stains it had, but these adorn it,
Stains of hero martyrs' blood.
Yes, we furled it ; ne'er forgetting
That our once bright sun Avas setting, —
Setting in a sombre sky ; —
And when darkness brooded o'er us.
Fortunes gone, forebodings tore us,
Hope held out no light before us,
Only honor comfort bore us ;
This was left — we need not die.
And though sad and heavy hearted.
Sighs we gave to hopes now thwarted.
Tears to comrades, friends departed.
On a new life then we started.
Hopeful for the by-and-by.
Sardis, Miss., April 9, 1880.
OUR DEAD COMRADES.*
They are sleeping, calmly sleeping.
Wake them not to life again.
Loving eyes are vigils keeping
O'er them where they long have lain.
"^ Eecited, May 18, 1880, at Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis,
Tenn., by Miss JA7.z\q L. Montgomery, at the request of the
Committee of Arrangements on the occasion of the decoration of
the graves of the Confederate dead.
70 OUR DEAD COMRADES.
Here, in silence and in sadness,
Come the mourners tears to shed,
Nor is heard a note of gladness
Near our unforgotten dead.
And at evening, zephyr whispers
Linger long in floating by.
Like the echoings of vespers.
Or like angel's softest sigh.
At the tocsin note of danger
Went they forth without a pause —
Every heart, to fear a stranger —
To espouse their country's o^use, -
Went like sons to shield her honor —
Went with hope and confidence —
Nor let stain be cast upon her,
And they fell in her defence :
Fell like heroes, though the story
Is with gloominess o'ercast ;
Fell to be embalmed in glory.
Loved and cherished to the last.
Proudly they had borne her banner
When the clouds hung threatening o'er,
Through the wood and broad savanna.
And had dyed it in their gore :
And when torn they sadly wailed it,
Yet they nobly bore it still —
Bore it high and never trailed it
Till with it they bravely fell ;
Firm and true in every trial.
Whether sky was dark or bright,
OUR DEAD COMRADES. 7]
Crowning love with self-denial
And self-sacrifice for right.
Pressing onward, onward ever,
Danger counting not, nor cost,
Turning, looking, backward never.
Pining not o'er what was lost,
Ne'er they paused, nor ever dallied.
Knew not terror nor alarm,
Closer 'round their banner rallied.
When the darkest grew the storm ;
But alas ! though fondly cherished.
They Avere numbered with the slain.
And, though true and brave, they perished.
And alas! .'twas all in vain.
Other loved ones — vast in number —
Dear to fond affection yet.
Here around us calmly slumber,
Nor would we their graves forget ;
Noble fathers, gentle mothers.
Husbands, wives, and children too.
Friends, companions, sisters, brothers.
All appear to memory's view.
There, though pestilence has swept them
From the reach of human eye —
Love embalming — we have kept them.
And will keep them till we die.
Here, let loving hands bring flowers.
For these all, and slee^Ding braves,
72 THE BANGS.
Blossoms from the fairest bowers,
To bestow upon their graves :
Thus we speak a love undying,
And each bosom heaves a sigh,
Heart to heart, all testifying
That our love can never die.
Keep we them in warm affection —
Ne'er forget what they have done —
Till we stand, for last inspection.
With them, 'round the great white throne.
See the lassies with their bano^s
What a world of fortune on each tiny ringlet hangs.
As they frizzle, frizzle, frizzle.
On the adolescent brow.
All the nervous beaux to dizzle.
And to make their courage mizzle.
Until scarcely one knows how
He shall say, say, say
What will touchingly display
To the fair and gentle wearer his insufferable pangs,
From the bangs, bangs, bangs, bangs.
Bangs, bangs, bangs.
From the curling and the twirling of the bangs.
THE BANGS. 73
See the maidens with their bangs —
Cumbent bangs —
Into what a worrying bew^ilderment of tangs
They have twisted, twisted, twisted,
Hearts that found the tempting snare
Over-strong to be resisted,
Although every one enlisted
All the force his heart could bear ;
Yet he found, found, found.
That his craft had run aground.
Or had run upon the breakers, whence it shrieked its
On the bangs, bangs, bangs, bangs,
Bangs, bangs, bangs.
On the luring and conjuring of the bangs.
See the widows with their bangs —
Catching bangs —
With what discordant rattle every heart around them
As they whirl 'em, wdiirl 'em, whirl 'em,
By a motion of the head.
And should sportive breeze unfurl 'em.
Oh ! how gracefully they curl 'em,
E,e-arranging every thread.
With a smile, smile, smile.
Full of sweetness, full of guile,
Full of woman's art concealing, ne'er revealing honeyed
Oh! the bangs, bangs, bangs, bangs.
Bangs, bangs, bangs,
Oh ! the thrilling and the killing widows' bangs.
74 THE BANGS.
See the matrons with their bangs —
Placid bangs —
What useful curtain lectures, and forcible harangues
Come from under, under, under.
Those demure and dreamy things,
Intonating muffled thunder.
And awaking awe and wonder.
And a wish for eagle's Avings.
Wings to flop, flop, flop.
To some far-ofl" mountain's top.
Where the henpecked ones might gather, all in sympa-
And chaunt bangs, bangs, bangs, bangs,
Bangs, bangs, bangs.
Not abusing nor traducing darling bangs.
And the beauties ! see their bangs —
Witching bangs —
What unspeakable suspense of young ambition hangs
On each dimple, dimple, dimple,
That admiring eye can trace,
So alluring, yet so simple
(Without a spot or pimple)
On a lovely woman's face.
And it seems, seems, seems,
To inspire vivid dreams,
Which like all uncertain fabrics vanish, leaving bitter
While the bangs, bangs, bangs, bangs.
Bangs, bangs, bangs,
Still beguiling, sit there smiling, — cruel bangs!
THE BANGS. 75
All the dear ones wear the bangs —
Glossy bangs —
And whether black or auburn, or golden, on them
Many a fascinating eye,
Whose scintillations wildly, inordinately dance,
As they glance, glance, glance
On the lovely apparitions sweeping luxuriantly by,
AYhere men gather, gather, gather
On the corners, sights to see.
Neither minding wind nor weather,
Though, perhaps, they'd always rather
It should somewhat windy be.
For the bangs, the pretty bangs, just like other things,
In a lively, stirring breeze.
All silent their vibrations, not a whisper do they utter,
Yet they tantalize and tease.
Though no "tintinnabulation" ever "musically wells,"
Like to that immortal poet has accredited to " bells."
Yet against the bells, bells, bells.
With their harmonies, their melodies, their turbulence
We will match to waken tender
Emotions, and to render
Man desperate, the splendor.
The wholly irresistible and captivating splendor of the
Darling bangs, bangs, bangs, bangs.
Bangs, bangs, bangs.
76 THE BANGS.
What a blank the world would come to but for women
and their bangs.
It would be a desert wild,
Fit alone to be the home
Of the Phantom and the gnome —
Where fair woman had not smiled —
A soulless population all in restless wandering gangs.
Were't not for the diffusive,
Perhaps, sometimes illusive,
And now and then effusive,
Yet, wdth their cons inclusive —
Ev'n though at times exclusive —
Ev'r cheering — ne'er obtrusive —
(Provided women always wear them) bangs.
Smitten swains will bear the twangs,
That may shock the heart awhile.
Shipwrecked ones will bear the pangs.
That may lurk in woman's smile.
Other men will bear the clangs.
All the lectures and the whangs
Of the women whom they ^^ rile,"
Rather far than one Avould lose —
Though it saved him lots of trouble and abuse —
The lovely, cunning, conquering, dear wearers of the
Bless the bangs, bangs, bangs, bangs,
Bangs, bangs, bangs,
All the present and the future of men's earthly welfare
On the bearers and the snarers of the bangs.
On the wearers, lovely wearers of the bangs.
THE ROOSTER. 77
On an eve last February I reached home from travel
As to my cottage often I had doubtless come before ;
On I walked, but little dreaming, all around so quiet
I should find a wild commotion all about my cottage
Wild commotion and confusion all about my cottage
Such as ne'er was there before.
Just where circling pathway passes there I met five
All intent upon some purpose such as they had ne'er
Thought of, much less undertaken, and I own my
nerves were shaken.
When with flutter, cluck, and clatter came a rushing
from my door,
Came a rushing, half defiant, through my widely-
An old rooster ! nothing more.
Why had sought he my library on that eve in Feb-
78 THE ROOSTER.
Was it only all my cases of bound volumes to look
Or had new-born thirst for learning all the mysteries
Nisi Prius, which are hidden in the tomes of legal
Caused him there to come and seek them in my tomes
of legal lore.
Till they drove him through the door ?
While the lassies were all running, and the rooster ditto,
Well-aimed broomsticks and umbrellas, as he skirred
across the floor.
Bowing to the first I thanked 'em, then I walked into
Just to see how many volumes I could find that
See what books of law, theology, and poetry he tore.
Or had scattered on the floor.
But, there was no sign of pillage, and no volume in the
Less appearance of rough handling by ambitious
Taking in the situation, then I felt no indignation.
But my curiosity led me still further to explore
For the reasons and inducements to this visit, to
For the motive, nothing more.
THE ROOSTER. 79
Of no volume had he reft me, but no visit-card he left
On the mantel, desk, or table, nor upon the polished
And I went at once to summing up the reasons for his
But from all my cogitations came one reason, and no
Though, perhaps, the social rooster had at least a
Though he never came before.
But, night came on cold and freezin', and before I show
I had better tell what happened after I had closed
Having all the windows fastened, out of this cold room
Leaving ope no crack or cranny of the window or the
Not a space where mouse could slip in, through a
window or a door.
Nor a crack in wall or floor.
Now, though books I was well used to, an inquiring-
Among tomes of law and logic I had never seen
And — my mind confused all seeming — the whole night
long lay I dreaming
80 THE ROOSTER.
Of my books and of the rooster who had come in
through my door,
Of the gray-necked, phik-combed rooster who had
entered through my door,
Where he ne'er had been before.
Not long after daylight's dawning I awoke from slum-
ber yawning, —
For I sometimes yawn o' mornings, though at night
I never snore, —
I arose with feelings cheery, dressed, and went to my
Went in silence to my sanctum and wide open threw
Went in silent medication and wide open pushed the
Just to look, and nothing more.
But I heard a cluck and cackle, and thinks I, "Now I
Some intrusive ghost or goblin who has come here to
Who has come while I w^as sleeping and no wakeful
watch was keeping,
And has entered through the keyhole of my locked
Who has entered through the chimney or i\\Q; keyhole .
of the door."
There he sat upon the floor.
Bless your soul, it was the rooster ! Was it not a case
of ouster ?
THE BOOSTER. 31
Was a parallel recorded anywhere in legal lore,
On like ti-espasses dependent, where a rooster was de-
I thought me of no precedent, so I pointed to the
And in gentleness and kindness showed the rooster to
Saying : " Come back never more."
Now I'll show you the occasion of this curious inva-
Of my sanctum, such as never I had known it have
That old gray had heard the spouting, and the wrang-
ling, and the shouting
Of the lawyers in the court-house, — this had roused
him, nothing more;
Lawyers muddling minds of jurors, this had roused
him, nothing more ;
And he heard it o'er and o'er.
From a fence within the shadow of the court-house oft
he had o'
Evenings and o' mornings heard exegis and comment
on hidden legal lore.
Till his senses all were surging; then it was, ambition
That he left his nymphs and harem and had sought
my sanctum door,
Left his brown and speckled beauties and had sought
my sanctum door.
And my tomes of legal lore.
82 THE ROOSTER.
He had heard the lawyers wrangle, getting things into
Each asserting and veach proving, on the strength of
That fee simple brought but trouble ; now the best way-
is to double,
And to fee your lawyer freely, if you wish to see him
And with bigger fees, the worse the case, the higher
will he soar.
Occult science, nothing more.
I confess I did not choose to scoff the literary rooster,
Court and juries oft were fuddled just as much with
But if he should ever see this, ere on law he writes a
Let it warn him that the lawyers will be wrangling
That the lawyers will keep wrangling and entangling
Evermore and evermore.
Sardis, Miss., May 29, 1880.
They're like the stars whose beams at night
Drive more than half its gloom away,
And o'er us fling a mellow light
More softly calm than that of clay, —
The stars that come to cheer and guide
Our hearts and footsteps through the gloom.
And, through whatever ills betide.
To light our pathway to the tomb.
Yet they are not like stars that, when
The gath'ring storm shall cast its pall
Around and o'er us darkly, then
Withdraw behind the frowning wall ;
For friends, if they are friends indeed —
Not merely so in name and form —
Will not, when clouds arise, recede,
But nearer come in darkest storm.
They're like the rocks whose shadows give
A refuge from the sultry sun.
And as a sweet restorative,
Revive the vigor almost gone;
The rocks that neither fiercest ray
Of sun, nor winter's rudest blast,
Can move aside or turn away.
But firmly stand while time shall last.
Yet, they are not like rocks that know
No soft emotion, have no heart.
That but a stern indiff^-ence show,
Or only passive good impart;
For friends, if they are what they seem,
Abound in love and sympathy ;
Their hearts overflow, their soft eyes beam,
With deep and pure sincerity.
They're like the founts that here and there
Gush forth amid the desert plain.
To soothe and overcome despair,
And drooping hope revive again ;
The founts, whose cool, refreshing streams,
Contain no bitter dreg nor drop,
But, as a grateful tonic, teems
With stimulants, to buoy us up.
Yet, they are not like waters cold.
That chilling sense alone impart,
Or that in winter's blast enfold
With icy clasp, the trusting heart ;
For friends are ever, if sincere,
Unchangeable, steadfast, and warm.
And gather closer when appear
The portents of the wintry storm.
And friends are treasures, e'en though few ;
Nay, he is rich who has but one, —
One whom all tests have proven true,
And who no change has ever known.
THE HEBREW QUEEN. 35
And whoso has a friend like this
Can face the storms that hurtle by,
Can smile when malice 'round him hiss,
And all its poisoned shafts defy.
I have, thank God ! I have a few ;
With those I am content, and I
Would to them all be ever true.
And hold their friendship till I die;
And then, I know, when comes the end,
And I shall penetrate the veil
That Aidenn hides, I'll find a friend
Who ne'er has failed, will never fail.
Sardis, Miss., August 7, 1880.
THE HEBKEW QUEEN.
Royal lady ! though oppression
May obscure the brightest gem,
Thou wert — heedless of its mandate —
Born to wear a diadem.
And though man with priceless jewels,
Glitt'ring in their peerless sheen,
Deck'd thy brow in regal splendor,
God and nature made thee Queen.
86 THE HEBREW QUEEN.
Noble woman ! bright example
To tliy sex for ages yet,
Though of self thou Avert forgetful,
Others thou didst not forget ;
And when dangers darkly threatened
Death to them, though not to thee,
Thou couldst bravely dare to perish.
Else to set thy people free.
Lovely Esther ! Eose of Sharon !
Daughter of a scattered race.
Born to suffer persecution,
Calm, sweet trust illumed thy face ;
True to princij)le and virtue.
To thy race, and to thy faith,
Thou wert willing for thy people
Ev'n to meet and suffer death.
Gentle Jewess ! child of sorrow !
To whose heart no guile was known.
On whose brow, serenely lovely,
Resignation sweetly shone.
Until virtue be forgotten.
Until earth a waste shall be.
Loving hearts shall fondly cherish.
Venerate, and honor thee.
Sweet deliverer ! Israel's jewel !
Until hoary time is not.
Be thy name forever honored
And thy virtues ne'er forgot';
Be they held in fond remembrance,
Round them purest love entwined,
And may latest generations
Keep them ever thus enshrined.
Malvern, September 20, 1879.
TO AN ABSENT FRIEND.
In the deep silence of the stilly night,
When liug'ring zephyrs leave hut soft, faint sound.
Ere thy pure soul in slumber's chain is bound.
When mem'ry conjures up its vision bright, —
Though marred, perchance, with spots that dim its
I ask thee then to pause a while, and think
If for but one mistaken act, 'tis right
To sever rudely friendship's golden link.
Think ! are not friends, in life's uncertain day,
Worth more than this, and are they not too few
To be thus coldly, rudely cast away
When every instinct tells us they are true?
Let calm reflection bring these thoughts to thee;
Then, in that quiet moment, think of me.
Sardis, Miss., April 24, 1880.
38 RESIGN A TION.
DEDICATED TO MISS F. C. W.
A SUNNY beam will gild a cloud
And cause it less of gloom to wear,
As faith, when we are sorrow bow'd,
Will give us strength the load to bear.
A tempest sometimes ushers dawn
And lingers darkly through the day,
And we, impatient, fret and moan.
But cannot drive the clouds away.
And yet, amid life's wildest boom.
Will resignation softly bring
A ray of light to cheer the gloom,
And o'er us sweet contentment fling.
Complaining ne'er will roughness smooth,
Nor bring sweet flow'rs where thistles are ;
Repining will not sorrows soothe,
Nor yield us joy to lighten care.
And yet we may, the darkest night.
In calm sweet slumbers dream away,
Till morning's soft and cheerful light
Shall banish night and usher day.
'Tis well that we should ne'er forget
Life is not all a rosy dream.
RESIGN A TION. gg
Overspread with cloudless skies, and yet
'Tis cheered with many a sunny beam ;
And these, when darkest hang the skies,
Their radiance lend to gild the scene.
Cause drooping hearts, and hopes, to rise
Above all ills and woes terrene.
But why do I presume to tell
These things? Thou canst not learn of me.
For these are truths thou knowest well
And all are typified in thee.
Thy fair young life, from morning's dawn.
Has felt and borne affliction's blight,
And yet, though light seemed all withdrawn
And Vound thee hung the gloom of night.
Came phantom forms to mock and jeer.
And chill thy young and tender heart.
Sweet resignation brought thee cheer.
And bade the gloomy gnomes depart.
Then dare I not presume to teach
These truths, so pleasing, though so stern.
But rather let me — I beseech —
From thy sweet life a lesson learn.
A lesson learn that shall to me.
And might to others, strength impart.
That will, when clouds the darkest be,
Give peace and courage to the heart,
Around life's way a halo fling,
More cheerino- than the lioht of dav,
90 THE SNO W.
A peace that shall contentment bring
And drive despondency away.
The sunbeams here that gild thy sky
Are but faint types of those to come,
When in the blissful ^' by and by''
Thou reachest thine eternal home,
And tlien, what seemed afflictions here.
As blessings, sent by hand divine,
Will to thy raptured gaze appear,
And joy shall be forever thine.
Malvern, August, 1880.
I SIT by my hearth, and the flame blazes brightly,
I look through the panes on the cold dreary street.
Where soft fleecy atoms, all silently, lightly.
The earth are enwrapping in cold winding-sheet.
The scene is all phantom-like, silent, and dreamy,
Not even a whisper.is borne on the air;
No sun-ray is dancing, all cheerful and beamy,
To 'lumine the ghostly-like dreariness there.
I heed not, I feel not, the sharp icy breezes
That dash round the corners in wild, roving flight,
Wliile every pure tear-drop, from weeping sky, freezes,
Or blows into feathery atoms of white.
For though it is ceaselessly, blindingly snowing
Out yonder, where Winter wields merciless sway,
In here, where my grate is so cheerfully glowing,
No breath of the Ice-king can chillingly stray.
Can I, 'mid these comforts, be ever regretful.
Complaining, and even for luxuries sigh?
Can gratitude let me be ever forgetful
Of others less favored and happy than I ?
No, no ! let each blessing, each comfort, be rather
A token to move me to pay what I owe
A loving, beneficent, Heavenly Father,
That works may my faith and my gratitude show.
Sardis, Miss., Feb. 2, 1880.
INSCRIBED TO MRS. MARY J. E. H., ON THE DEATH
OF HP:R SWEET LITTLE DAUGHTER AGNES.
Let one whose heart has often bled —
As thine, alas ! is bleeding now —
O'er loved ones lying cold and dead.
Persuade the shadows from thy brow ;
Nor from thy brow alone dispel
The gloomy shades that linger there.
But from thy stricken heart as well.
Where only soft emotions are.
Ah ! I have oft, in sore distress,
When all my sky seemed dark and drear,
And scarce a glimmer shone to bless
My life, or light my pathway here, —
I oft have asked, at times like this.
My stricken heart, o'erwhelmed with pain.
If 'twould recall, from realms of bliss,
The loved ones back to earth again.
Then, selfish nature answered "yea,".
But when by pure impulses moved,
That heart has softly whispered " nay.
Rest where thou art, my lost, my loved."
Though lost to me, a world of care,
I know, is spared that tender breast.
Nor care nor pain can enter, where
Our loved ones roam among the blest.
Come, let us look with eye of faith,
Beyond life^s ever-changing tide.
And see, across the stream of death.
Our loved ones on the other side ;
See how they strike their harps and sing,
As, kneeling at the Saviour's feet.
They make the plains of heaven ring
With anthems, and hosannas sweet.
Ah ! who would mar that joyous song.
Who, who would introduce discord.
Or who disturb that happy throng,
That wait in transports 'round their Lord ?
'Tis said they ^' sleep beneath the sod/'
But banish all such thoughts as this,
For they are living now, with God
And angels, in eternal bliss.
We may not smother Nature's voice,
Nor calmly yield to her behest.
But love should bid our hearts rejoice
Because our darlings are at rest;
Because the cares, the pains, the pangs.
That come unsought to wound us here.
And oft to sting like serpent's fangs.
Are things unfelt, unknown, up there.
And these, ne'er thine and mine attack,
A crown adorns each precious brow.
Nor would we, could we, bring them back.
For they are happy angels now.
All angels — pure and bright and fair —
Gone to the heavenly land before ;
Oh ! let us strive to join them there.
And live Avith them forevermore.
Saudis, Miss., June 25, 1880.
Love! What is it? Tell mc, maiden,
Have you felt the tender thrill ?
Has your heart, with joy o'erladen,
Throbbed beyond your power to still ?
Have the deep, devouring glances
Of some penetrating eye
Pierced your very soul like lances,
Given joy or caused a sigh ? .
If you've felt, and have not told it,
Now your heart let pity move.
Ope the secret and unfold it,
Tell me, maiden ! — what is love ?
Love! What is it? Tell me, lady.
You who've reached life's rosy prime:
I am resting on the shady
Side of ever-rolling time;
Yet — though now 'tis legendary —
I have heard long years ago.
Love could cheer the heart when dreary.
And could banish all its woe.
The7i it was a soft emotion,
Spreading light from heart to brow.
Seed and fruit of pure devotion;
Then 'twas this ! — what is it now ?
Love ! What is it ? Have the changes
Time on earthly things has rung —
And Avhich heart from lieart estranges —
Cupid's fatal bow unstrung?
If the little god is wielding,
Darts he wielded long ago,
And from which there was no shielding;
Hearts at which he aimed his bow,
Then is love a tender passion.
Free from every thought of self.
Uncontrolled by whim or fashion,
Uncongealed, unswayed by pelf.
Love was once a world of gladness.
And a world of sorrow, too ;
It was sweeter for the sadness :
Flow'rs are sweeter robed in dew ;
Love was never, then, half-hearted.
Nor did mathematics know.
But, whene'er the fountain started.
On and onward it would flow,
Cheering, charming, blessing ever,
Sweet'ning, strengthening every vow.
Pausing, doubting, changing never.
Then 'twas so, — how is it now ?
These, perhaps, are "old-time notions,"
Out of date and obsolete,
But the thought of such emotions
Wakens mem'ries sad and sweet, —
Sad, that only can reflection
Back these scenes to memory give;
Sweet, that in fond recollection
Still they live, will ever live.
When o'er hearts they held dominion,
They with joy could life endow,
Heart then soared on rosy pinion.
Tell me, pray, how is it now ?
Love ! What is it? Let me tell you
What it was, and is to-day :
It is that which will compel you
Selfishness to put away ;
That which adverse wind ne'er changes,
That which fears no storm or strife;
Dark suspicion ne'er estranges
And which gives a charm to life;
That which, when all else has perished.
In misfortune's rugged blast.
Should with life itself be cherished.
For 'twill sweeten death at last.
Sardis, Miss., June 5, 1880.
I OFTEN think it must be sweet.
The notes of happy birds to Iiear,
When, from some lofty bough, they greet
The sunrays, that through clouds appear ;
For I have thought that even I,
When clouds their shadows o'er me fling,
If cheering sunlight swept tliem by,
Sweet songs of gratitude could sing ;
And, if my heart to song be wrought,
"When grateful thoughts my bosom fill,
What melodies — by nature taught —
From feathered choristers must trill !
But these to hear is not for me ;
Alas ! I hear not, — yet I see.
I often think, when beauty's lip
To music's soul is giving voice.
And melodies appear to drip,
How^ those who catch them should rejoice;
And yet they seem the draughts to drink
As though each one was theirs of right :
'Twould wake my gratitude, I think,
As of the blind restored to sight.
I catch a trickle now and then,
It thrills my heart, and melts away,
And silence then might bring me pain.
If resignation did not say,
"Keep this reflection in thy mind.
Though deaf, thou art not dumb nor blind."
For others I can freely feel.
And gladly strive to save them pain ;
To further, if I can, their weal,
And all my selfishness restrain.
From social throngs I often shrink —
That else would pleasure give to me —
Because it is a pain, to think
That I, unwittingly, may be
A weary trial, and a tax
On patience, strength, or courtesy.
And, seeming, in politeness la^,
Or gentleness or modesty.
No; my misfortune is my own.
And I will bear it all alone.
Ah ! I have seen, in days gone by, —
What gave me pain but ne'er offence.
And Avakened many a heavy sigh, —
A tittering smile at my expense.
And some of those who sport could find
In my misfortune, me perplex,
(And who forgot I was not blind).
Were of the fairer, gentler sex ;
And I confess, it pained me sore.
They had forgotten for the time
That, though the burden which I bore.
Misfortune was, it was no crime.
I pray that Heaven these may save.
From pains, and stings, like those they gave.
I am not sensitive, I think,
Nor does my burden bear me down.
The cup is mine and I must drink.
Why should I shudder, flee, or frown ?
I cannot shun it if I would,
And since 'twas sent by hand Divine,
FOLD IT UP CAREFULLY. 99
I would not shun it if I could,
'Tis best the burden should be mine.
And so it is with all life^s ills,
In fortune's frown or cold reverse,
'Tis best to bear what Heaven wills.
And thankful be it is no worse.
And in this thought I comfort find.
Though deaf, I am not dumb nor blind.
Sardis, Miss., July 19, 1880.
FOLD IT UP CAREFULLY.
A REPLY TO "the CONQUERED BANNER," BY SIR
HENRY HOUGHTON, OF ENGLAND.'*'
Briton ! we have furled that banner,
Furled it on the field of strife,
Furled it in a manly manner,
Furled it, though 'twas dear as life ;
* I never saw Sir Henry Houghton's poem until a few days
ago, when a friend who had transcribed it from his sister's
"scrap-hook" handed it to me. I reproduce it here, that my
verses may be properly understood. J. F. S.
THE CONQUERED BANNER.
Gallant nation, foiled by numbers,
Say not that your hopes are dead ;
Keep that glorious flag that slumbers,
One day to avenge your dead ;
Keep it, widowed, silent mothers.
Keep it, sisters, mourning brothers,
100 FOLD IT UP CAREFULLY.
Furled it, Briton ! for no nation
Gave us friendly words at all ;
While we struggled for salvation
They looked on to see us fall ;
Though we earned their admiration,
And they yielded this, 'twas all.
Furled it, Briton ! and have laid it,
Folded carefully, aAvay.
Had you sympathized — and said it,
Shown it — at an earlier day,
You, and England, who were noting
Every effort that we made,
Then, perhaps, had now been floating
That loved banner. But — 'tis dead !
Not because war's tempests tore it,
Not because it was not loved
Furl it with an iron will,
Furl it now, but keep it still.
Think not that its work is done.
Keep it till your children take it,
Once again to hail and make it
All their sires have bled and fought for.
Bled and fought for all alone, —
All alone ; aye, shame the story,
Millions here deplore the stain.
Shame, alas ! for England's glory,
Freedom called and called in vain.
Furl that banner, sadly, slowl}' ,
Treat it gently, for 'tis holy.
Till the day, yes, furl it sadly.
Then once more unfurl it gladly, —
Conquered banner, keep it still.
FOLD IT UP CAREFULLY. IQl
By the Spartan band who bore it,
And had their devotion proved,
Not because it was not cherished
By a brave and gallant baud.
But from cold neglect it perished,
Cold neglect from every land.
This, even more than countless numbers,
And resources without end.
Killed the cause, the flag, that slumbers ;
Save at home, they had no friend !
Briton ! Dixie might have thanked you,
Thanked your country for a word.
But we might some day have ranked you.
And we not a whisper heard.
Could it be the British Liou,
Looking far away ahead,
Feared his ancient foeman's scion?
Or did he the old sire dread ?
Whatsoe'er it was, kind Briton !
Since you shunned us in our need,
Now, without you, we will get on.
Nor will we your counsel heed ;
For, proud Briton ! we have given
Pledges brave men never break.
And which, aided by kind Heaven,
We'll abide, though slow to make.
Vengeance you can never teach us,
This belongs to God alone ;
102 FOLD IT UP CAREFULLY.
Nor shall He in wrath impeach us
For a deed in vengeance done.
True, our comrades, vast in number,
Lie in death's cold, dreamless sleep ;
But as many foemen slumber,
Over whom their loved ones weep ;
And our widowed ones, and mothers,
Who have felt war's bitter blows.
All our sisters and our brothers.
Sympathize with others' woes.
All allurements disregarding.
Knowing naught of "iron will,"
Vengeance, if e'er felt, discarding.
They will love that Banner still, —
Love it, for the cause that gave it
Birth and life, and with it fell;
Love it, though they could not save it,
Heard with pain its fun'ral knell ;
Love it, for the mem'ries blending
Eound the hosts beneath it slain.
Yet, though loving, ne'er intending
To unfurl its folds again.
* >ii * * *
Sardis, Miss., May 22, 1880.
ex XXVII PSALM. 103
By Babylonian flowing streams,
While hope within our bosoms slept,
Withdrawing all its cheering beams,
We sadly. sat us down and wept;
For, came to our remembrance there,
To make more sad our captive state,
Sweet Zion, once so bright and fair,
All wasted now and desolate.
We hanged our harps on th' willow-trees.
All silent every tuneful string ;
No music floated on the breeze, —
Our hearts were sad, — we could not sing !
Ah, yes ! our hearts were bruised and broke,
Our way was weary, dark, and long.
We groaned beneath the spoiler's yoke.
And they demanded mirth and song.
The songs of Zion they w^ould hear.
But breath would linger in our lungs,
Or every note would drip a tear
And melt to whispers on our tongues.
How could we, sor'wing captive band.
Our voices raise in glad refrain.
To echo through the strangers' land.
When all our hearts were \vhelmed with pain ?
104 CXXXVII PSALM.
No, no; Jerusalem was y^i,
Though sad and desolate her doom,
The one dear spot we'd ne'er forget, —
Our loved, our lost, our ruined home.
All else might vandal hands destroy,
But, howsoever rude they be.
They could not rob us of the joy,
Jerusalem, of loving thee !
No light may glitter in the eye,
A gladness in the heart to prove ;
We cannot sing, yet can we sigh.
And freiorht each sio:h with deathless love.
Not for ourselves we weep alone.
Though onerous our burdens be :
But more for thee we make our moan,
And weep, Jerusalem, for thee !
But those who mock our sorrows now.
And no compassion for us show.
Shall yet beneath misfortune bow
And drink the dregs of bitter woe.
The fiat forth has even gone
^Gainst those who have oppressed us sore,-
Proud Edom and great Babylon
Shall be destroyed to rise no more.
Sardis, Miss., May, 1880,
PERHAPS IT WERE AS WELL. 105
PEEHAPS IT WERE AS WELL.
Perhaps, perhaj^s it were as well
Thou'st cancelled ev'ry vow
And coldly, calmly said farewell,
And we are parted now.
No plaint of mine shall reach thy ear,
Nor word of blame from me.
That one my heart has held so dear
Could cold and fickle be.
No moan shall sound, no tear-drop start,
No pain my lips shall tell,
For thine have said that we must part.
Perhaps it is as well.
Could there be happiness with one
Who sports with solemn vow?
No : better far to live alone,
As I am living now.
And though ^twas hard to give thee up.
Yet when sweet faith is gone.
Then perishes the life of hope,
And pride is left alone.
So be it, then ; I'll school my heart
To echo fare thee well.
For thou hast said that we must part.
And 'tis perhaps as well.
106 PERHAPS IT WERE AS WELL.
And though my faith and hopes were sweet,
And every dream was briglit,
Though every prospect seemed complete,
And filled with calm delight,
Yet cold blight came, when ev'ry vow.
Once fondly pledged by thee.
Was trampled in the dust, and now
Thou nothing art to me.
I blame thee not, but never more,
My heart its love shall tell.
For to thy 'hest that we must part
It answers 'tis as well.
Admirers many soon will come.
Perchance are 'round thee now,
To gladden, brighten heart and home.
Drive shadows from thy brow;
And these may every homage show,
And smother all regret,
But while life lasts with thee, I know
Thou never can'st forget.
For memory's pang within thy heart.
Unbidden guest will dwell.
But thou hast said that we must part.
So be it, fare thee well.
Weldon, N. C, 1854.
WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY GRAVE- YARD.
^Tis autumn evening, yet the cheerful green
Of summer lingers on the forest-trees;
The sombre russet has not tinged the scene,
Nor frosty vapors chilled the lambent breeze.
The sun, reclining, seeks his evening rest,
Recalls his beams that erst the earth o'erspread,
And soon, behind the distant crimson west,
Will pillow in repose his jewelled head.
The forest-shades resound with soft, sweet song,
The woodland choir is chanting vesper hymns,
The echoes on the breeze are borne along,
And coming night the evening's brightness dims.
The jay, though petulant and captious he.
Yields to the hour wdth meek, submissive mood.
And, while he trips from twig to neighb'ring tree,
Chirps only — if at all — in tones subdued.
One tall, lone poplar, vet'ran sentinel.
All battle-scarred and panoplied in green,
Stands near the portal yonder, guards it well,
Nor suffers tree nor shrub to intervene.
Two dark-green pines spread out their arms around,
As if responsive to some mandate made,
Strict ward to keep above the sacred ground.
While loved ones slumber ^leath their peaceful shade.
Hard by, an elm, of foliage nearly stript,
Seems battling with catalpas, rank and wild,
Which ^round it have with savage cunning crept,
While neighboring cedars calm defiance smiled.
Gnarled oaks, on which the wintry storms have beat,
Until their crowns have bald as eagles' grown,
Without the walls, overlook this calm retreat.
Which noxious weeds have sought to make their own.
Save here and there, where fond affection's eye —
Which never can the loved and lost forget —
Is keeping carefnl watch where loved ones lie,
The sad decay awakens deep regret.
On stones which here in gloomy grandeur stand,
Contesting domain with encroaching weeds.
The stranger — open to his eye and hand —
A sadd'ning page in history's volume reads.
How wealth abounded, in the long ago.
When, just across the road where maize now grows,
A sacred temple stood, devoid of show.
Within whose precincts pealing anthems rose.
The wealth has vanished, and the temple too,
And some who here await th' archangel's call,
No touch of poverty in life e'er knew.
While others lived to know and feel it all.
This solemn lesson, if no more, is drawn
From all the silent graves that ^'ound me lie:
Humanity, e'en from life's rosy dawn.
All ages, rich and poor, alike must die.
And, after all, what, when it comes, is death ?
Is it alone a silent, dreamless sleep,
A mere cessation of the fleeting breath.
While anxious loving ones around us weep ?
Is it but wasting of the mortal frame,
A mere deliv'rance from exhausting pain ?
Is it the final quenching of life's flame ?
Or, shall the victims wake to life again ?
And if they wake ! Oh, whither, how, and when
Shall reunited be the broken thread,
Which, ever brittle, snapped in twain, and then
The solemn whispered word was spoken, "dead"?
Was man in rich beneficence endowed
With mind and heart, and yet without a soul,
Thrown here to help make up a heedless crowd.
While instinct bids him seek a higher goal?
Pause, man, and think! Can this be all of life,
A cheerless, dreamy, brief, uncertain day
Of toil, temptation, sorrow, care, and strife,
To end alone in silence and decay ?
To linger here and weep, perhaps to smile,
To sip the cup of joy, drain that of woe,
With fickle fortune dally for a while,
Then into dreamless, wakeless slumber go?
To be remembered here on earth no more,
Ev'n blotted from the minds of those we love.
And, Avhen the grave has closed its gloomy door.
To be forgot, alas! by God above?
No ! He in whose fair image man was made.
And by whom girded for his earthly strife,
The idea, foolish and profane, forbade,
That this career of earth is all of life.
The bones which here in silence have decayed,
Eeturned to dust, will in eternity.
In fairer form and purer garb arrayed.
With life and soul reanimated be.
And may each sleeper here, young, old, and fair.
Arise, when called, all clad in spotless white.
And be adjudged a crown of life to wear
Forever in yon world of fadeless light.
Sardis, Miss., Oct. 17, 1879.
NO FRIENDS' NO HOME! m
NO FRIENDS! NO HOME!
He slowly walks from place to place,
Aod j)aiises here and there a while,
A careworn look upon his face,
On which was once a happy smile, —
A smile which pleasing story told,
Of heart all hopeful, spirits high, •
For friends were then not coy nor cold.
But now, they coldly pass him by.
He "hath not where to lay his head,"
No shelter from the dews of night,
No home to which to go, for bread
To stay his gnawing appetite.
How he w^as hungered none can know,
How he has dreamed the night away,
Impatient that it went so slow,
And that so long was coming day.
And yet, when morning dawned again.
And walked he forth upon his round,
Inviting door he sought in vain ;
Alas ! it could nowhere be found.
And he continued still to roam.
Yet nothing came his life to cheer, —
No friends, no aim in life, no home, —
His lot was joyless, sad, and drear.
112 ^C) A YOUNG LADY.
The most loiig-siiff'ring friend lie ha;l,-
Save only one alone, his God, —
Who oft, in sympathy, was sad,
Was sleeping now beneath the sod.
And still he groped his lonely way.
O'er fading memories sadly sighed,
Nor hope threw out one cheering ray,
And, friendless and alone, he died.
Sakdis, Miss., August 14, 1880.
TO A YOUNG LADY
WHO, ON HEADING THE TITLE OF MY POEM ON " HEI.E,"
ASKED ME IF I WAS OUT OF SUBJECTS.
Out of subjects? No, fair lady ;
These are scattered all around.
Scattered by the hand of nature,
Subjects both of sight and sound.
Every leaf, and bud, and flower,
Dewdrop, rainbow, sunny beam,
Birdnote, echo, crash of thunder,
Offers an exhaustless theme.
These, tho' poets all have touched them,
All have made them themes of song.
Still are fresh, with music dripping.
And with gems of thought o'erhung.
TO A YOUNG LADV. 113
But, if these were all exhausted,
O'er me hangs the ether bhie.
Where the stars in glory glitter.
Each a theme, and so are you.
Out of subjects? No, fair lady;
If my modest muse could soar
Up Parnassus, to the Delphian
Temple, and unlock its door.
Or could quaff Castalian waters.
Then might I aspire to do
Something worthy of fair women,
And my subject should be you.
You, whose raven brows and tresses,
Bright dark eye and winsome smile,
Form wherein are blent the graces,
Heart wherein can lurk no guile ;
You, who from the morn of childhood,
Sportive as a sunny beam,
I have seen to bloom and blossom,
You should be my pleasing theme.
Think not that my casket's empty.
For it many a gem contains;
Only lack of skill to treat them,
My ambitious muse restrains.
Earth and sky are filled with music.
Of whose charms the poets tell.
And there's music, too, I doubt not.
Of a certain kind in ^'hell."
Malvern, June, 1880.
114 AVTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS,
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
WRITTEN IN A VILLAGE CEMETERY.
No " curfew tolls the knell of parting day,"
No "lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea/'
No " ploughman homeward plods his weary way,"
Soft, lingering daylight still remains with me.
'Tis quiet, calm September Sabbath eve,
The village church-bells long have ceased to sound ;
And I have chosen, living throngs to leave,
To visit here the dead on hallow'd ground.
The breezes dally, dreamy, soft, and light.
The sun, reclining, seeks his rest beyond.
The fleecy clouds move slowly in their flight,
And meditation o'er me wields her wand.
Deep silence reigns, save softly-murmured sigh
Of zephyr's voice, borne on its wings to me.
Alone I am, yet feel that hov'ring nigh
Are angel spirits which I do not see.
Reflection comes : I think how many here
Now sleeping in their cold and narrow cells
Have strolled these grounds, or from yon highway near
O'erlooked these dreamless tombs wliere silence dwells.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 115
Ah ! many a foot which now no more will tread
The sodden turf, here often eretime trod ;
And though we think of them as ^mong the dead,
Perhaps they roam the Paradise of God.
'Tis sweet to think of those who slumber here,
That care and toil and pain with them is o'er.
And they to yonder upper, brighter sphere —
Their home and ours — have only gone before.
Tis sweet to think that we shall meet up there,
Our precious loved ones, when life's storms are past,
And we, borne up on breezes soft and fair,
Within the harbor furl our sails at last.
Then we shall know what now we cannot see,
That ev'n afflictions here are often best ;
And there, our hearts all tuned to harmony.
With loved ones, we shall be forever blest.
Here sleep the old foreparents, yet not ''rude,"
But men and women all of sterling worth, —
The peers of those ^nong whom on earth they stood.
Esteemed and held by all "the salt of earth."
They filled the measure of their useful days,
Nor sought the devious pathway to renown ;
They little recked the world's uncertain praise,
Nor dreaded yet its cold, unfriendly frown.
116 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
Not that they held at naught, or valued light,
Their honest fellow-man's approving smile,
But what they did tliey did because 'twas right,
Nor dallied with the fickle crowd the while.
True, though perhaps unskilled, untutored they,
In fashion's tinsel courts, and wont to plod
Unmoved, the "even tenor of their way,''
They went, with consciences unstained, to God.
Here, there, and yon the overspreading weeds
Yield to the idler's slow and measured tread,
Wlio, pausing in his silent ramble, reads
The simple records of the slumb'ring dead.
Anon, upon some mound not so defaced.
That in the stricken heart warm love still dwells,
Fresh-gathered flow'rs by tender fingers placed,
In silent language sweet, the story tells.
Can cold oblivion ever overspread
The loved and lost, as earth o'erspreads the bier?
Can mem'ry cease to shrine the precious dead,
And moist their ashes with affection's tear?
No, no; the true, warm heart which nature gave.
And which the voice of love can ever move.
Will follow sadly to the silent grave.
And cherish there, the object of its love.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 117
Tlie stately shaft or unassuming stone
Can only mark the spots where they may lie,
But fond and loving hearts — nor these alone —
Bear Avitness that the loved ones never die.
They may be hid a while from mortal sight
When death's cold mark is on the marble brow,
But still they live in regions fair and bright,
Where many who lie here are living now.
They live in mem'ries, too, of those bereft,
Of those who still must bear misfortune's wave, —
Those whom they have for but a season left.
Till these shall follow to the peaceful grave.
Here, on my left, I see a column rise
Of Parian marble, snowy, white, and fair.
Its apex pointing up to yonder skies,
And he who sleeps beneath is wakeful there.
While here, within this world of care and strife,
He wrought his master's work, until the grave
Gave rest ; exhausted health and strength and life^
The blood-bought souls of dying men to save.
He fell, not in "the sear and yellow leaf,"
But in the spring of life, — as of the year, —
His greatest care, his greatest dying grief,
He left so many unrepentant here.
118 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
Off yonder stands another snowy shaft,
O'er one whose heart was pure, whose locks as white
As snows which wintry tempests o'er him waft;
And he, too, fought till death the faithful fight.
And near him sleeps — as chiselled record shows —
Another consecrated man of God,
Who, as the first, at life's calm, peaceful close,
He saw committed to the heedless sod.
Then followed he, and on the other shore
These all have met, as Christians here should meet.
Life's cares, and toils, and griefs, and hardshi[)s o'er,
In one communion, brotherly and sweet, —
A truth that Christians all should recognize,
And on their minds and hearts should be impressed,
That in yon peaceful world above the skies.
Sweet brotherhood prevails 'mong all the blest.
There sleeps a wife and ndother, by her side
A tender babe, whom she had gone before,
But soon it followed, with her to abide,
And they are, hence, together evermore.
As gentle she from childhood as a dove, —
A gem as pure as decks a regal crown, —
Her life was one of kindness and of love,
And ready she, when called, to lay it down.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. HQ
Not far away a loving brother sleeps,
Who watched her orphanage with tender care ;
But they have climbed the bright celestial steeps
That lead to bliss, and are together there.
An uncle, whom they loved, a patriarch he, —
A Nestor long within the church of God, —
Is with them there, a guardian still to be,
His ashes, near to theirs, 'neath yonder sod.
Near by, another soldier of the cross.
Another minister, whose time and breath
For others' good were giv'n (to him no loss).
Is sleeping now the calm, sweet sleep of death.
Beneath yon modest column — but complete —
Sleeps one who went in manhood's early pride
His risen Saviour and his God to meet,
And now his mother slumbers by his side.
Across the way two little hands, and fair,
Extend to greet in innocence the dove.
" Robert'' I read, but Robert is not there, —
The little darling gambols now above.
Ah ! I remember well one wintry day.
When long the sacred ashes here had slept.
The loving father chanced to })ass that way.
And, pausing, overwhelmed with sorrow, wept.
120 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
And, while his tears bedewed the cherislied spot,
Said he, "My friend, a bitter blow was this'';
The weeping father in his grief forgot,
His precious first-born liv'd in reahiis of bliss.
Near by, a chiselled lamb in calm repose
Attracts my eye, fit emblem of the blest.
Of one who, ere May mornings' sunlight rose,
'Mid April's tears, was there consigned to rest.
A gentle, loving, unassuming child,
Her smile and prattle charmed a happy home;
An angel now, where ^' first fair woman smiled,"
And roaming free where fadeless flowers bloom.
An aged mother calmly slumbers near,
And there a daughter's sacred ashes blend
With earth's cold clay, and though young life was dear,
She through a fiery ordeal reached its end.*
To her it was a welcome, sweet release.
When death's cold finger touched her burning brow;
Beside her mother here she sleeps in peace.
The deathless parts of both in heaven now.
And near by these a tender infant lies.
Like bud of rose, as innocent as fair.
Transplanted now in yonder smiling skies.
To bloom and wait its loving parents there.
* A literal fact.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 121
On yonder eastern avenue, and near,
I see a gabled column proudly stand,
And lie who lies in death's deep slumber there
Saw here a virgin forest o'er the land.
Then, civ'lization scarce had pressed her foot
Upon the soil, which hence with plenty smiled,
Where sounded red-man's yell and night-owl's hoot,
And all the country 'round was but a wild.
He saw proud oaks their broad green branches spread —
Ere yet the woodman's axe had touched a bough —
Where here he slumbers 'mong the silent dead.
And only tender shrubs are growing now.
He saw the forests, nature's lavish gift,
Which, when laid low, will rise not up again ;
He saw them fall before the hand of thrift.
And where they'd stood saw fields of smiling grain.
He saw the village rise where erst had grown
The products of the sturdy farmer's toil ;
To him each phase, each change, each spot was known,
Though born and reared upon a distant soil.
He watched the growing country's rising star,
Saw lavish plenty, fabled wealth and ease,
Ensanguined, bitter, fratricidal war,
And then he saw the poverty of peace.
122 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
He met the changes, — fortune's smile and frown,
The fair South's fall, nor hoped to see her rise, —
Met cold misfortune, toiled till broken down,
And, after all, met death, and there he lies.
Away oif yon, with mystic emblems wrought.
And covered o'er by spotless mournful pall,
A stately shaft, from far-oiF quarry brought.
Stands o'er the dust of one beloved by all.
When asked in solemn tones, as death drew near.
If on a loving Saviour he relied.
With beaming eyes, and voice distinct and clear.
He answered " Wholly," then he calmly died.
Ah, me ! what safer anchorage than this,
When tempests beat, could man immortal have?
What surer safeguard to the realms of bliss.
What purer light to 'luminate the grave ?
'Twas He could tame the angry tempest's wrath.
Could calm the stormy ocean's dashing wave,
'Twas He alone could lull the sting of death,
And give a sweetness to the gloomy grave.
So let me feel, when Death's cold hand shall come
To freeze with icy touch life's flowing fount;
Then I shall see my far-oif happy home.
To which, through death, my ransomed soul shall
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 123
Thither and yon, some tiny tnound proclaims,
A mother's tender darling sleeps below;
1^0 chiselled records, neither dates nor names,
Tell passing stranger who received the blow.
But somewhere, in this broad, fair land of ours,
A mother's heart is yearning for this spot,
Somewhere, within this land of love and flow'rs,
Lives one by whom it ne'er will be forgot.
Although unmarked by column, stone, or urn,
One heart still o'er it sleepless vigil keeps,
One loving heart will, unforgotten, turn
Back to the spot where mother's darling sleeps.
Science, perchance, may weigh the burning sun,
May ev'n control the winds that whistle by,
May mark the course the hidden currents run.
And read the stars that glimmer in the sky ;
But science yet has never known the hour.
With all her vaunted skill, that she could prove
The height, the depth, the breadth, the length, the
And deathless vigor of a mother's love !
Sleep on, sweet innocent ! thy grave is known.
And though long miles and years may intervene,
'Twill hallow'd be, though without shaft or stone,
And mem'ry'll keep the turf upon it green.
124 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
The white-fleeced motlier would, when tempests beat,
Her puny lambkin from their fury hide,
Yet she will bravely bear it all and bleat
Her plaint, nor leave her tender offspring's side.
You cannot tempt, nor even can you drive,
The dumb, unselfish, loving one away;
No, no; while instinct still remains alive.
Though life the forfeit, near it she will stay.
But, fold that tiny lambkin near thy breast.
And breathe upon it warmly-glow^ing breath.
Then bear it where, ensheltered, it may rest.
She'll follow then, and both are saved from death.
The One who made the lambkin and its dam,
And gave them instinct tender, warm, and true, —
The same, the great ineflPable, I Am, —
The human mother made, gave instinct too.
And when He takes her cherub to the skies,
'Tis not to 'whelm her heart in dark despair.
But 'tis to shelter it in Paradise,
And lead her thoughts and her affections there.
There, near me, stands a tall, imposing stone,
Near which in silent slumber have been laid
Two darling boys," to sin and care unknown
When they, as called, the debt of nature paid, —
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 125
Two gentle boys, who, in life's rosy morn,
Though loved and cherished and to many dear,
And one his mother's darling, first one born.
Were called away and now lie sleeping here.
Another, yonder, precious boy he was,
A youth of tender years and spotless name.
For sorrow gave he ne'er his parents cause,
Nor sorrowed they till death's stern mandate came.
At vesper-hour, one calm, soft, balmy eve.
Health flushed his cheek and in his bright eye shone :
The next — alas ! how bitter to believe —
That cheek was pale, the vital spark had flown.
And I, too, can sweet testimony bear.
Of one who now lies slumb'ring at my feet,
Who murmured not at suff^'ring, pain, and care,
And left the world prepared his God to meet.
Sad mem'ry yet recalls his last "good-night,"
The bloom of health his features overspread,
But when we saw him next, in morning's light.
The bloom was gone, our precious boy was dead.
Affliction's child, he bore his burden well,
Nor murmured he, though heavy was his load ;
And 'twas his chief delight in life to tell
His confidence, his hope, his trust in God.
126 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
Imagination rears a broken shaft,
A wreath-hung column, o'er the early dead,
'Round which shall heav'nly zephyrs gently waft,
And softly sigh, above the name of " Fred."
I strolled out yonder, but a while ago.
Near where the highway sinks below the bed
Of silent Rose Hill, gradual and slow.
And there I saw fresh, lovely flowers spread.
They lay upon the grave of one as fair.
Of one as lovely, peerless, and as pure.
As sweetest bud or blossom lying there.
And who from right the world coukl not allure.
'Twas so decreed with these, life's closing scene.
The gentle teacher and the pupil fair,
But few brief autumn days shoukl intervene.
Ere both were called to heaven and welcomed there.
There is an instinct in the human soul,
A silent, still, mysterious something there.
Assuring it that earth is not its goal.
And luring to a higher, purer sphere.
Let doubters idly waste life's precious breath,
Tliey cannot smother conscience though tliey rave,
They know that somewhere lies before them death.
And after death the cold and silent grave.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 127
Beyond, to them, alas! the view is dark,
They feel that there is something yet to come.
The " still, small voice of conscience" speaks, and, hark !
It says, " the judgment, then the final doom !"
Oh ! sweet to feel, ev'n while on earth we roam,
That then a loving voice shall strike our ears
And say, '^ Ye blessed of my Father, come,
Joy now is yours, dry up the fount of tears.''
Here let imagination, unrestrained,
Glance down the vista of the coming years
And grasp the view of " Paradise regained,"
To dry the mourner's silent, flowing tears :
'Tis resurrection's bright but awful morn !
The sun stands still, the moon approaches near.
The twinkling stars, ambitious to adorn
The final scene, in grand array appear ;
One atlantean mass of fleecy cloud
Wheels in its flight and hovers, trembling, o'er.
Till comes a mandate, solemn, deep, and loud,
Proclaiming now, that time shall be no more.
The pillar moves, and on its snowy crest
Stands one whose every glance is fraught with love,-
'Tis He ! the Shepherd, Saviour of the blest !
Descended from His peaceful home above.
128 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
But, hark ! from yonder mound, all fringed about
With roses sweet, and from whose summit waves
The green magnolia, comes a solemn shout,
" Awake, ye dead, and come forth from your graves!^'
It is archangel's voice ; the rustling leaves,
As if by magic's 'lectric touch, grow still ;
Each mound and stone and column round me heaves,
And anthems sweet the soft, calm breezes fill.
And, while the harmonies ecstatic rise,
I hear the rustling of angelic wings.
And each bright angel, from the waiting skies,
A crown of life and palm of vict'ry brings.
Now rise the loved and, we have deemed them, lost,
The white-haired sire, the youth, the gentle maid.
The babe, the mother, ah ! a num'rous host,
Who long ago in sorrow here were laid.
The wife, the husband, brother, sister, too,
The son, the daughter, tender ones and small,
And those who foretime here I never knew,
But now I know each one and love them all.
The anthem swells as they approach the mound.
On which the bright archangel, waiting, stands ;
All wreathed in happy smiles, they circle 'round
And fondly clasp each other's outstretched hands.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 129
(One thought alone a sombre sadness flings
A moment o'er the scene so sweetly bright ;
It comes, like bird on dark Plutonian Avings,
To bring " a shadow from the brow of Night.''
Avaunt ! ye inky plume from raven's breast,
Nor list your dark forebodings to disclose.
Let hope serene, like soft, sweet moonlight, rest
O'er all the silent dead who here repose.)
I saw bright angels, erewhile, coming down,
Where now are they ? I see them here no more,
But on each brow about yon mound a crown
Is glitt'ring bright, though none in life it wore.
Those angels brought these crowns and happy seemed,
Descending froui the far-oif heavenly plain,
Could they have been the deathless souls redeemed.
Come down to vivify this dust again?
Ah, yes ! and now they turn their love-lit eyes
Up yonder where the Master bids them '^come,"
And, with commingled shouts of joy, they rise
To meet their Saviour and to seek their home.
I watch them as they cleave the upper air.
Each mother clasps her babe as she ascends,
Heav'n opens, and I see them enter there !
luiagination fails, the vision ends !
130 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
And still the harmonies, with joy replete,
Which went before and followed in their track,
Like far-off melodies, divinely sweet.
On echo's silver wings come floating back.
I pause a while to contemplate the scene,
The scene by fond imagination wrought.
So bright, so full of comfort, so serene,
That solace to my longing heart it brought.
And now my stroll among these sainted dead,
Reflection sweetens, brings a soothing ])eace ;
And hope and faith, while here I slowly tread
The hallow'd turf, bids sorrow all surcease.
See there a mound on which the rains have beat,
No lofty column, not a stone is near,
No tree to shelter it from noonday heat,
A tender shrub alone is growing there.
And yet affection fondly lingers ^-ound
The spot where husband, father, calmly sleeps;
Nor is less dear that humble, unmarked mound.
Than one o'er which the chiselled willow weeps.
Another, yon, unmarked by shrub or flow'r,
O'errun by weeds, a sad, neglected spot,
The couch perchance of one who, many an hour.
Knew want and hunger, and is now forgot.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 131
But though no monument above it rise,
The clouds send down^their tears its turf to lave,
While stars and angels, from the far-off skies,
Look softly down upon the poor man's grave.
And more than one such unassuming mound,
O'er childhood, youth, maturity, and age.
When slowly, silently I stroll around,
Attracts my eye and tender thoughts engage.
I may not know, but He who by and by
Shall come to gather up the sainted dead.
Will need no stone to tell him Avhere they lie,
For he will know the sleeper in each bed.
Let scoffers mock, with cold derisive sneer.
At humble faith, and call it what they will.
Yet when the hour of death approaches near.
What bitter memories must their bosoms fill !
If then, perchance, the roving mind shall rest,
A moment, on some long-departed saint,
Who, once reviled, is now supremely blest,
Nor hears the scoffer's mournful, bitter plaint,
'Twould vainly long for power to recall
A catalogue of sacrilegious deeds,
Time to recant and to repent of all,
Ere hence, for aye, the soul immortal speeds.
132 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
Alas! when Deatli's unwelcome voice is heard,
And man is called to meet relentless fate,
He longs to utter one imploring word
Of earnest prayer, — stern Justice says, '' Too late !"
That preparation for th' eternal day.
By man is made alone while here he dwells.
Nor hears the judge excuses for delay.
Each shaft and stone and mound around me tells.
As northward now I turn my roving gaze,
And contemplate familiar scenes around,
I see afar, through evening's misty haze.
The emblems of an old-time *' burying-ground.''
Across the valley, on the autumn breeze,
Come melancholy murmurs soft and low, —
Perchance the slumb'rers there, hold here with these,
Communion o'er the scenes of long ago ;
For, those who sleep off yonder long have slept.
From grandsires down, through every kindred tie.
And some of these, above their ashes wept.
When they were 'tombed off yonder where they lie.
And still the earth moves on around the sun.
And time brings care and sorrow on each wave ;
Man suffers, toils, and longs for rest, yet none
He finds, until he finds it in the grave.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 133
He little recks how much of good or ill
One little act, one simple word may do,
Some space, within the book of life, to fill,
To make one vicious or to make him true.
One kindly act or gently spoken word.
Has caused the long-dried fount of tears to start,
Has touched some still remaining tender chord.
Cleared up the brow, and soothed the aching heart;
Awakened mem'ries long since buried deep,
Brought back the time when, at the mother's knee,
The whispered " JSTow I lay me down to sleep/'
Went forth from lips and heart, all blemish free.
And not alone to him, who thus receives
The smallest bounty man may here bestow,
Is comfort, pleasure giv'n, for, who relieves
Heaps joys the callous heart can never know.
With disappointments human life is fraught,
'Tis said, " Man's inhumanity to man,"
More woe and sorrow to the world has brought,
Than all the other ills in life's brief span.
Oh ! how much brighter, sweeter, life would be.
If each could "feel another's woe" and care,
" Another's faults" with lenient eye coukl see,
And, with another, joy and sorrow share.
134 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
Man was not made for self alone; ah, no !
^Twas in the Great Creator's grand design,
That man should, here on earth, his brother know,
And strive that brother's nature to refine.
Oh ! that kind heaven would in hearts of men,
An active instinct plant, of sympathy,
Nor let it ever pause or slumber ; then.
This lower world a paradise would be.
Before me lie a group, from grandsire down,
Alone of whom the elder I had known,
A true man he, who cared not for renown,
But lived for duty and for God alone.
Ah, yes ! I knew one other sleeping there.
Whose walk in manhood had but scarce begun,
Yet who could danger meet and hardship bear
Undaunted. 'Twas that elder's soldier son.
He felt that duty called him to the strife.
Nor to his country grudged the sacrifice,
But bravely on her altars laid his life,
loved ones lies.
Another " Conquered Banner" hero sleeps
Off yon beside his gentle, loving bride;
O'er these a gray-haired soldier father weeps.
For 'twas in life's bright morning that they died.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 135
And still another, as the carving shows,
Sleeps just beyond the Northern Avenue,
A veteran he, whose ashes there repose,
'Mong those who here in life, he barely knew.
For these, and others here, sad memory weaves
Chaplets of myrtle, laurel, and of pine.
To tell that well-won love, uudying, cleaves
To each, and will around them ever twine.
Sleep sweetly ! soldiers of a banner furled.
With comrades living, others now at rest.
Your prowess won the liomage of a world,
But it could win no more ; perhaps 'twas best.
'Twere better far, Avhen retrospection brings
The past before us, in fond mem'ry's light.
That gloomy shadows all sliould mount on wings,
And leave alone the beautiful and bright.
So let us school our saddened hearts to feel,
Ev'n though we see it not, what comes is best,
And trust the coining future to reveal
That we, in disappointment, were but blest.
Forget we ne'er our own heroic sons.
But let that memory sternly frown on hate,
Esteem tlie right, detest what honor shuns.
And calmly, nobly, bravely bow to fate.
136 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
A stone stands yonder o'er a gentle boy,
Whose motlier Avell I knew ere yet a bride ;
He was that mother's first, her pet and joy,
And anguish wrung her bosom when he died.
But she too, now has gone in woman's bloom.
And far away beside her mother sleeps,
While o'er her babe, here near her childhood's home,
Some gentle, white-winged angel vigil keeps.
Une])itaphed, on yonder plot repose
Three darling boys, beside their mother dear.
But resurrection morning will disclose
That all are angels in a brighter sphere.
I mind me of another son, whose brow
The light of peace and resignation wore
Amid affliction's trials, but, who now
Sleeps near the calm Pacific's distant sliore.
But oh ! it is a comfort to the heart.
To feel that death not only conquers pain.
But brings the loving ones, though far apart.
In rapt'rous, endless intercourse again.
Out yonder, too, in calm*, sweet silence sleeps
A gentle maid. I knew but few as good,
And death, who fairest flowers always reaps.
Took this sweet one in bloom of maidenhood.
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 137
No tablet there, but when the angel comes
To call the dead to their eternal rest,
And pilot them to their celestial homes,
He'll whisper here, '^ Come, Annie, with the blest."
She knew it well, and with her latest breath
Sang softly, sweetly, and with accents clear,
"I will arise'^ ev'n from the grave and death.
And live again in yonder heavenly sphere.
Recall these emblems to the thoughtful mind,
That all are destined in tlie grave to lie,
Man to the living should be ever kind.
For none can know how soon the loved may die.
And when returns the " dust to dust" again.
The least harsh word that we have spok'n, will bring
O'er mem'ry's waste, a flood of bitter pain.
And bleeding hearts with vain repentance wring.
Perhaps some one of these now sleeping here, —
Some one? I would that I might think, no more, —
Shed many a silent, briny, burning tear,
And, uncomplaining, cold reproaches bore.
Perhaps some heart has oft been sorely wrung
By words of cold unkindness, scarcely meant,
Yet which, no less, like barbed arrow stung.
Though back the wounded heart no arrow sent.
138 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
The Poet's pray'r " to feel another's woe/'
And, feeling, help its power to destroy,
Is not enough ; the heart should long to know.
Then do whate'er can give another joy.
Be to the living kind, and by and by.
Instead of self-reproaclies, bringing pain,
When those we love and cherish here, shall die.
Alone sweet mem'ries will the heart retain.
Oh ! may the angel, wlien he comes to seek
The wedding guests that sleep beneath this sod.
Find ne'er an unaccepted link, to break
The chain from Rose Hill up to heav'n and God.
Far down along the avenue of time,
Now dimly in imagination seen,
Perchance a stranger, from some far-off clime,
Will pause at yonder gate and come within.
Methinks I see him linger here and there.
To read the age-dimmed record on each stone,
The carving once was neat, and fresh, and fair,
But now 'tis worn by time and nearly gone.
He threads his way — graves thicker now appear
That when, on that long past September day.
The former visitor (now sleeping near)
Sought here reflection from the world away. —
AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS. 139
Anon he pauses in the grateful shade, —
For trees have grown where eretime none had stood, —
Then reverently bows his snowy head,
And yields himself to meditative mood.
Espies him now a time-worn iron seat.
And thither, with a melancholy smile.
He wends his way, and here in this retreat.
He sits him down to rest and think a while.
No dreaming poet, thoughtful, sad, and sear,
Kecounts bygones in melancholy verse.
No white-haired hermit, not a soul is near,
To legends of the fading past rehearse.
The twitt'ring swallows sweeping overhead.
The mocking-bird upon yon column's crest.
Alone disturb the quiet of the dead.
Alone sing requiems o'er their sacred dust.
The stranger in deej), tender thought appears,
Emotions soft upon his features play,
Adown his furrowed cheeks roll silent tears.
He thinks of loved ones sleeping far away.
Arising slowly from his seat he sighs.
And with his staif he thrusts aside the weeds ;
Then, through the mists that gather o'er his eyes,
Upon a modest stone before him reads
140 AUTUMN EVENING MEDITATIONS.
One who, " to fortune and to fame unknown/'
Who but too feebly wore life's heavy gear, —
Nor pleaded works his failings to atone, —
Among his loved of earth lies sleeping here.
Of ills he had his share, perhaps of good.
And ne'er complained at fickle fortune's frown,
His human frailties well he understood,
Nor claimed he worldly fortune or renown.
Perhaps he dallied with the world too much,
Too often yielded to its 'luring wiles.
Yet strove to shun contamination's touch.
And held integrity o'er Fortune's smiles.
Of friendships here he had, alas ! but few.
To these, to principle, and to God he tried.
Though weak and worldly, to be ever true.
And hung his hopes upon the Cross and died.
Of him no further need ye seek to know.
The past is gone, and here where oft he trod,
His dust is mingling with the dust below.
Content he was to leave the rest to God.
THE STORM-BEATEN BARQUE. 141
THE STORM-BEATEN BARQUE.
[An Allegorical Hj^mn of Thanksgiving, respectfully dedi-
cated to Hon. D. T. Porter, President of the Legislative Council
of Memphis, Tenn.*]
On the high-rolling billows a gallant barque rides,
All proudly and grandly o'er the waters she glides,
AVhile the lookout aloft with a far-reaching eye,
Scans searchingly, closely, all the signs of the sky.
Hear the sound of the bell ! and the cry "all is well !"
While gently around her the green billows swell.
Comes the moon's cheering ray, driving darkness away,
And lighting their path till the dawn of the day.
Noble ship of the South ! o'er the calm waters glide,
And heaven protect thee and prosper and guide.
'Tis a noble ship truly, and bravely she rides
Mountain billows, that break into foam at her sides.
For, as evening shades spread o'er the heavens again.
Darker, gloomier shadows they cast o'er the main.
She's afar from the shore, and the clouds gather o'er,
Loud thunders re-echo and temjiest winds roar,
* This is the chief executive office under the present city govern-
142 THE STORM-BEATEN BARQUE.
Blaze the heavens with fire, and the billows mount
And stars and sweet Luna in sorrow retire.
Noble ship of the South ! o'er the storm billows glide,
And heaven protect thee and prosper and guide.
Deeper, darker, and denser around grows the gloom,
And the glare of the lightning reveals only doom;
From the storm-beaten deck, by the wild, angry waves,
Ah ! many have been swept into untimely graves.
But remain still a few of the undaunted crew.
And these, though death threatens, are steadfastly
Every beacon is gone, but they still struggle on
Through the gloom and the darkness, and pray for
Noble ship of the South ! still the storm billows ride,
And heaven protect thee and prosper and guide.
Comes now the bright morning, and the sun's glinting
Glistens over an ocean of foam-beaten cream,
Whence come no soft murmurs, but deep wailings in-
Of sorrow and anguish o'er the loved and the dead.
Though the storm has gone by, yet the breezes all sigh,
While on the brave vessel tears dim every eye.
THE STORM-BEATEN BARQUE. I43
Every heart is aghast with deep sorrow overcast,
As memory brings up the dark scenes of the past.
Noble ship of the South ! o'er the waters still glide,
And heaven protect thee and prosper and guide.
As the night comes again, in the heavens appear
The signs and prognostics, gloomy, threatening, and
And the moon and star-clusters fall back in amaze,
While the black clouds loom up and the sky is ablaze;
Now again the clouds scowl and the tempest winds
The thunders roar madly, then angrily growl.
While the skies wildly weep, as again to the deep
Are hurled away victims in silence to sleep.
Noble ship of the South ! though misfortune betide.
May heaven protect thee and prosper and guide.
'Tis sweet to remember, while the storms beat her
Saints above and below wrought to save her from wreck.
She does not forget it, and she still rides the waves.
Though her depleted crew wee2) o'er friends in their
But the evening is bright, and serene comes the night.
The barque will make land by the moon's mellow
144 ^ THINK OF THEE.
Hark ! " Land, ho !" cries the watch, and though
billows may chafe,
Thank heaven the " Memphis," gallant "Memphis/'
is safe !
Noble ship, gallant ship of the South ! and her pride,
God bless thee forever, and prosper and guide.
Note.— The storms were the terrible yellow fever epidemics
of 1878 and 1879 through which Memphis passed.
I THINK OF THEE.
I THINK of thee at rosy dawn,
When sombre night has passed away,
And gems bespangle hill and lawn.
To greet the coining God of day ;
And as the mellow tints appear,
All glowing in the eastern sky,
The whisp'ring zephyrs linger near,
And breathe thy name in passing by.
I think of thee at noontide bright.
The sun upon his golden throne.
Illuming earth with dazzling light,
Which he can give and he alone.
And as his beams around me play
In sportive restlessness- and glee,
Ere from my side they flee away.
They whisper some sweet word of thee.
/ THINK OF THEE. I45
I think of thee at eventide,
When meditation soothes to rest,
And long to have thee by my side,
For then were I supremely blest ;
I long to hear thy soft, sweet voice,
None other wooes my listening ear,
Nor bids my waiting heart rejoice.
For none to me like thine is dear.
I think of thee at midnight hour.
When night's sweet goddess flings her beams,
And calmly wields her witching pow'r
While earth is wrapt in silent dreams;
In every vision, while I sleep.
Thy lovely face, divine, I see.
Thine image in my heart I keep,
And think of thee, alone of thee!
At morn, at noon, at dewy eve,
Daytime or night, 'tis one to me.
Condemned, perchance, yet no reprieve
I ask, still let me think of thee;
Till every hope and dream is past.
And earth shall vanish from my view,
As long as life itself shall last,
I'll think of thee and love thee, too.
146 ^^^ STAR.
See yonder star ! it sweetly beams,
^Tis bright, 'tis beautiful, 'tis bigli.
It shines while earth is wrapt in dreams,
And sends its light from yonder sky.
'Tis ever steady, pure, and bright.
Immovable within its place.
Clouds have no pow'r to dim its light.
Nor time to wrinkle o'er its face.
It shines there, brightly, beaming star !
To guide through darkness whom it may,
The wand'rer sees it from afar.
Its brightness cheers him on his way.
'Tis hidden now ; but see ! it gleams
More brightly as the clouds sweep by,
And now its dimless lustre seems
To make the clouds more swiftly fly.
Within the Christian's bosom shines
A star as bright, as pure as this.
He never cheerless grows nor pines,
Sweet hope his lustrous beacon is.
THE SECOND LIFE. 147
It shines as steady and as true
As yonder brilliant star above,
Possesses rich effulgence too,
Its brightest beams are faith and love.
It shines, too, like yon gleaming star,
To guide the wanderer to rest,
And, though 'tis visible from far,
It brightest shines within the breast.
Some dark cloud for a moment may
Pass o'er it, and its beams ensnare,
But every cloud will pass away.
While that shall shine forever there.
THE SECOND LIFE.
IN MEMORY OF MY SON.
I MAY not see the summer roses die,
Which erewhile o'er the lawn their beauties spread,
But when their withered leaves around me lie,
I know alas ! the roses all are dead ;
Yet, though they yielded to resistless doom.
And now no more the vales with fragrance fill.
Fair nature tells me they again shall bloom
As sweetly — nay, perchance, more sweetly — still.
148 THE SECOND LIFE.
I may not see the sun, like fiery ball,
Sink in the west behind this earthly zone,
But when night's sombre shadows 'round me fall
I know and feel the golden orb is gone ;
And yet I know that with to-morrow's dawn,
His crimson heralds, as with magic touch,
Will fling o'er hilltop, valley, lake, and lawn,
Bright symbols of the Day-God's grand approach.
I may not see the morning star retire,
When daylight comes all beautiful and fair.
But when I look, where like a ball of fire
It ercAvhile shone, it is no longer there ;
And yet I know that when the stilly night,
Has wrapt the earth in slumber's silent chain,
That star, ere comes the radiant morning light,
Will smile upon the sleeping world again.
I may not see the summer birds depart,
When 'round me whistle winds of wintry day.
But when the groves are silent, then my heart
Tells me the choristers have gone away ;
Yet with the sunny beams and flow'rs of spring,
When winter's rugged, icy reign is o'er,
Will come the happy, tuneful birds to sing
Again the joyous songs they sung of yore.
My precious boy ! I did not see thee die,
Nor pillow on this loving breast thy head,
Caught not thy farewell look nor parting sigh,
And yet my sad heart tells me thou art dead.
THE SECOND LIFE. ^49
I look not on thy calm and placid brow,
Hear not thy soft and gentle words of love,
But, oh ! I know, my sainted boy, that thou
Art basking in the Saviour's smiles above.
The roses bloom, and fade, and wither still.
The sun comes forth and shines, then sinks to rest.
The morning star, and little birds fulfil
Their destiny at nature's fixed behest ;
These all have language, silent though it be.
Which reaches, touches, moves my yearning heart,
Eeminds me what thou wert on earth to me,
And then reminds me sweetly what thou art !
Ko longer cased in cold corruption's gear,
]S"o longer "earthy" with its cares and chains,
No longer bearing, as thou borest here.
Affliction's burdens, sorrows, wounds, and pains ;
No, no, thcink God ! these could not follow, where
The Saviour's smile dispels all care and gloom,
For these sweet heaven has no place, and there
Is now, my sainted boy ! thy happy home.
Hark ! 'tis thy voice, and though upon my ear
It vibrates not, yet, wak'ning nought of pain.
It strikes my heart, and these sweet words I hear,
''Ev'n though I die, yet shall I live again."
Live where the Saviour's beaming smiles afford,
Perpetual food to feast the blood-bought soul.
Live where the ransomed hosts adore the Lord,
And anthems sweet in ceaseless current roll.
150 MINNIE'S GRAVE.
Out yonder at Eose Hill where sunbeams are playing,
And where, when the sun shall recline in the west,
The moonlight, all sweetly and silently straying.
Will tenderly linger where lost loved ones rest, —
No, no ; not the lost ! for, bright angels are keeping
Their unceasing guard till the last trump shall
'Tis there that sweet Minnie is silently sleeping,
Is dreamlessly sleeping, in the cold, heedless ground.
'Twas early in spring-time, ah ! well I remember.
The ices of winter had melted away ;
The snows had all vanished with winds of December,
And nature smiled greeting to zephyrs of May.
All robed in soft verdure, earth bore on its bosom
Bright gems, such as India's rich mines never knew.
Sweet bud, smiling flower, and opening blossom.
All sparkling at morn in their diamonds of dew.
But ere joyous " May-Day" her garlands had woven,
The brow of her fair chosen queen to adorn.
And spring over winter its conquest had proven.
By ush'ring in triumph her typical morn.
Came softly and sweetly, like zephyr from heaven.
With balm for all pain and a message of love,
* Minnie Pullen Heflin died April 12, 1872, in the twelfth year
of her ao;e.
^IINNJE'S GRAVE. 151
Came gently an angel, and whispered to Minnie,
"God wants you, sweet darling; He wants you above."
She answered the summons, and calmly departed,
Then silently, sadly we laid her to rest ;
We smoothed the turf o'er her, and though stricken-
We knew that her home would be now with the blest.
The spring-time of life she had yet barely entered.
How fit at spring's threshold a blossom so fair,
'Round whom fond affection had lovingly centred,
Was taken to heaven and transplanted there.
Out yonder she sleeps, where the sunlight is shining
On plants that die not, on the green turf around.
The pure marble stone and the lamb there reclining.
And there she will sleep till the last trump shall sound.
'Tis there that affection still clusters and lingers.
There brings its sweet tributes at fair summer eve.
And tenderly strews them, with fond, loving fingers,
The only caresses affection can give.
The snowflakes may coldly and silently cover*
The spot where she slumbers, and briefly efface
Affection's mementoes, but nothing can ever
The love that clings fondly around it displace.
And though the white atoms sweep down without number,
And coldly, unfeelingly drift on her couch.
They disturb not her rest, her calm, peaceful slumber.
She sees not their falling, she feels not their touch.
* Written January 1, 1877, during a very deep snow.
152 TO MV FATHER.
She hears not the words of endearaient there spoken,
She heeds not the sunbeams that silently play,
" The silver cord loosed" and " the golden bowl broken,"
Bright angels have wafted the jewel away.
Nor shall we more see her, till that blissful morning.
When trump of the archangel breaks on the air.
Then, at heaven's portal, with crowns for adorning.
We'll find her awaiting to welcome us there.
TO MY FATHER ON HIS EIGHT-
Thy head is silvered o'er, ah, no !
The silver now has passed away.
For every thread is Avhite as snow.
And I wear now the silver gray ;
And yet thy heart is still atune
With joy, as in life's sunny day.
When by kind fortune's hand, were strewn
Sweet blossoms all along tiiy way.
And sad the changes time hath wrought.
In scenes and places, men and things,
Some pleasures but more sorrows brought.
Upon its ever active wings.
The past comes up like vanished dream.
And glimmers in the evening light,
All crested with a glowing beam.
Which lives alone in mem'r3^'s sight.
TO MY FATHER. ^53
The morning of thy life, and noon,
Were fair and bright, all wreathed in smiles,
For fortune had thy way bestrewn,
With many a gem that life beguiles ;
Her favors were before thee spread,
The richest thou couldst freely cull,
]S"o cloud-rift hung above thy head.
And all was bright and beautiful.
Then, men were wont to court and «mile,
And bring their arts and wiles to bear,
To fawn and flatter and beguile.
That they might in thy fortune share ;
But when the adverse clouds arose.
And hung in gloomy darkness o'er,
Among these parasites were those,
Who fawned and smiled on thee no more.
^Tis well, perhai3s, misfortune came.
Else thou, perchance, hadst never known
That friendship's more than empty name.
For few had then true friendship shown.
But sad experience now has taught
And yet a sweet experience too —
That friendship is not sold or bought,
And priceless is when it is true.
And now, when thou art glancing back.
Along the vista of the years,
Thou seest all along the track.
Past scenes of joy, and scenes of tears.
]^54 ^^ ^^^ FATHER.
And many a tear-drop thou hast shed,
O'er blighted faith in trusted men,
O'er loved ones, lying cold and dead.
Whom thou wilt ere long meet again.
Unmurmuring, thou bearest well.
The burden of thy fourscore years.
Last of thy mother's sons to dwell.
In this cold world of toils and cares.
And 'tis relief to thee, to know
The end is now not far away.
When thou shalt bask within the glow,
Of fair and bright eternal day.
They tell me, father, thou art blind,
That thou wilt see my face no more
Till, when we leave the world behind.
We meet upon the heav'nly shore.
And though I grieve that it is so,
'Tis not the sorrow of despair.
For light unfading will, I know.
Illuminate thy brow up there.
On this thy fourthscore natal morn, —
Thy life still cheerful and serene, —
The greetings of my heart are borne
O'er hills and vales that intervene.
To thee, my father, whom I love—
Another one I may not send — •
May life's unfinished journey prove
Calm, sweet, and peaceful to its end.
HEROES OF PESTILENCE. ^55
And may it terminate at last,
Up yonder where thy Saviour reigns,
And where, when deatli's cold stream is passed,
Thy soul shall drink ecstatic strains.
May angel voices soft and sweet,
Our loved ones who are there at rest,
And all the saints thy coming greet,
And there be thou forever blest.
Sardis, Miss., March 23, 1880.
HEROES OF PESTILENCE.
DEDICATED AS A TRIBUTE OF RESPECT TO THE MEM-
ORY OF CAPTAIN NATHAN D. MENKEN.
When on the field of carnage brave men fall.
Amid the din of battle and the deadly strife,
Their heroism becomes the theme of all,
And muse and artist bring them back to life.
For them a grateful country's plaudits rino-,
For them are p?eans sung with earnest will.
For them, ev'n stranger hands will tributes bring.
And sculptured monuments crown many a hill;
Ev'n envy hides its sinister frown the while,
And, as it contemplates the scene, it Avears
U])on its face a soft, approving smile.
All harmonizing with a nation's tears.
156 HEROES OF PESTILENCE.
Around their honored names historians throw
A dimless lustre, and in (3easeless flood,
That generations yet to come may know,
Tliey homage earned upon the field of blood.
Defending home and right will many fall,
When, face to face, and blade to blade with foes ;
But these, though heroes truly, are not all,
For many others ^leath the turf repose ;
Heroes in deed, and not in sounding name.
Heroes who dared oppose a hidden foe,
Heroes, who, unimpelled by thirst for fame,
Eisked life itself to soothe some human woe.
In gory battle glory may be won,
And martial music stirs the sluggish blood ;
But when dark pestilence confronts them, none
EW dream of fame; each works for others' good.
And well he knows, when night shades gather o'er,
That ere the sun shall smile on earth again,*
The stealthy monster may approach his door.
And o'er him, 'round him, cast his burning chain.
No star of glory lured him at the start.
No fascinating vision of renown ;
Firm rectitude of purpose nerves his heart,
And on he bravely works, till stricken down.
* It was a notable fact that during the epidemic of 1878 the
niirht season was the most dana;erous and the most Mai.
HEROES OF PESTILENCE. 157
Perhaps 'mong those for whom he dared to face
The deadly foe, and life to sacrifice,
There was not one either of his blood or race,
Nor one of those in death to close his eyes.
Unselfish hero he ! who dared to stand
^Mid scenes that might the stoutest hearts appal,
When cries of woe re-echoed o'er the land.
And, hero grand ! amid such scenes to fall.
Time may, perchance, erase from memory
Of men, such deeds that moral bravery prove ;
But deeds and martyrs, will forever be
Held in remembrance by the God of love.
A moral hero such as this I knew,
One of that race which bigots yet despise,
A moral hero still, e'eu though a Jew,
Who could his life for Christians sacrifice.
He gave his treasure freely, and his time.
To soothe the suffering 'mid the silent strife
With death : and then, with heroism sublime,
To crown the sacrifice he gave his life.
When angry war swept like a raging flood
O'er all the sunny South, and ev'n beyond,
Deluging many a field in brothers' blood
And sev'ring many a bright, fraternal bond,
He heard his country's call, and in the bkie
Brought here his life, upon her shrine to lay ;
But when peace dawned, to noble instincts true.
He met as brothers those who'd worn the gray.
And one of these this simple tribute brings,
This willing tribute, to a hero's worth,
For, 'tis a soldier of the South who sings
The virtues of a soldier of the North, —
Of one who bravely fought, yet harbored not
Resentment when the cloud of war swept by.
But, with noble heart, all foes forgot.
And gave himself, for all alike, to die.
And now he sleeps, where other heroes sleep,
Within a cold and silent, dreamless cell ;
Yet whisper Hope and Faith, ev'n while we weep,
'• Life's fitful fever o'er, he sleeps well."
Though on fame's rolls his name may not appear,
Nor blazoned monument above him rise,
Yet will philanthropy, with many a tear,
Bedew the sacred spot where Menken lies.
Sardis, Miss., Feb. 18, 1880.
I SOMETIMES think, that death will come
.Upon me in the stilly night.
While silent slumber wraps my home.
And " darkness shows a world of light."
And when the rosy morn shall break
Upon the earth, and o'er it shed
Its cheerful light, and loved ones wake,
That they will find me cold and dead.
I sometimes think, that death will steal
Upon me when enwrapt in sleep,
And, when its icy touch will fail
To rouse me from my slumber deep,
That not a word or sigh or moan
Will wake the sleeper by my side,
Nor will she know that I am gone
Till daylight stretches far and wide.
I sometimes think, that death, which seems
To us repulsive, gloomy, dark.
Will come to me 'mid happy dreams,
And snatch, while bright, the vital spark ;
That I shall pass, without a pain.
O'er all the space that intervenes.
And gently wake from sleep again,
'Mid other friends and fairer scenes.
But whether in the darkest night,
At noonday or at rosy morn.
Or in the evening's mellow light.
Shall sound the angel's signal horn,
It will not wake a pain, or dread,
Or apprehension in my breast,
For when, as mortal, I am dead.
Immortal, I shall be at rest.
Death wears no threatening front to me :
I know this frame is only dust.
And, wMth the eye of faith, I see
Him in whose promises I trust.
160 TRVK HEROISM.
And though 'mong loved ones life is sweet,
Yet, gladly I shall lay it down,
My Saviour and my God to meet, —
I " bear the cross to wear the crown."
Nay, nay ; for less, far less than this, —
Far less, and yet far more the while, —
A crown is not the key to bliss :
That key is God's approving smile.
For this, with naught beside, would I
Yield gladly all the world can give.
And deem it happiness to die,
A- servant with my God to live.
Sardis, Miss., June, 1880.
'Tis sought upon the field of strife,
All battle-scarred and gory,
AVhere men will wager limb and life
^Gainst evanescent glory.
They reck not hardship, heed not toil, —
Fame's temple stands before them, —
Nor they from danger's frown recoil.
While still "the flag" floats o'er them.
And heroes, too, may there be found.
Have often there contested.
For principle, the bloody ground.
And there in death have rested.
TRUE HEROISM. ^gj
Have rested, and have been embalmed
In gratitude and story,
And columns, when the storm had calmed,
Were blazoned with their glory.
But not upon the battle-field,
No matter what is fought for,
Is true heroism revealed.
It need not there be sought for.
^Tis sought upon the briny wave.
When inky clouds are scowling.
And foaming billows dash and rave.
While tempest winds are howling.
The storm-beat -barque, like floating shell,
Toss'd in the wild commotion.
Seems, as it mounts the waves that swell,
An atom on the ocean.
A hundred souls upon the deck.
Are hopelessly despairing
Of help, to save them from the wreck.
And ruin on them glaring.
One man, perchance, and one alone
(For courage sinks to zero).
For others' lives will risk his own.
And he becomes a hero.
Nor would I from an act so brave
Withhold one wreatli of beauty.
Yet, hope of rich reward may have
Impelled, or sense of duty.
162 TRUE HEROISM.
But, where mankind have rarely sought,
No " hairbreadth ^scapes" behind it,
And few, too few, have ever thought
That, searching, they could find it.
True heroism is oft'nest found, —
Though crude seem the opinion,
And like a vagary it sound —
Within the home dominion.
Where one, with sleepless, watchful care.
O'er fev'rish babe will hover.
And lave its brow with many a tear,
While to the God above, her
Her heart has fervently appealed.
And striven fears to smother ;
True heroism is there revealed.
The heroine the mother :
She watches, loves, and prays and cares
For it till sere and hoary.
Nor thinks nor dreams, through all those years.
Of praise, reward, or glory.
She sacrifices ease and rest,
Society and leisure.
And everything that might suggest
A feast or taste of pleasure.
Should to her mind the thought occur —
And men would never heed it —
That babe might worry for her care,
Ev'en though it did not need it.
Aye, more, she sacrifices health,
The greatest earthly blessing.
HEART LANGUAGE. 163
Worth more than pleasure, fame, or wealth,
And more of woe repressing.
She toils, endures, becomes a slave,
Repining, pausing never
Until she droops into the grave.
To rest from toil forever.
Ah ! pause and think a while of this.
My sister and my brother.
True heroism it surely is.
The heroine thy mother.
Sardis, Miss., July 13, 1880.
" We met, we gazed, — I saw and sighed ;
She did not speak, and yet replied."
Byron, in Mazejjj^a.
If life is but a dream indeed.
That comes and goes with vision's spedd.
Then many things that had remained
Mysterious problems are explained :
The eloquent though silent glance
Which throws the heart into a trance ;
The heaving bosom, pensive sigh.
That soft emotions signify ;
The downcast lids, the crimson flush.
Those heralds of the startled blush ;
The falt'ring tongue, the trembling lip.
Whence sweetest nectar seems to drip, —
164 HEART LANGUAGE.
Each of a thousand things that seem
With ills to weigh or joys to beam;
A thousand things that have no voice,
Yet make us sadden or rejoice;
A thousand things which, could they speak,
Might cause the heart to sink or swell.
The veil that hides the future break,
And coming woe or weal foretell.
But life is not a dream, a thought,
All in dissolving visions wrought ;
And mysteries that 'round us rise,
To strike the heart, the mind, the eyes,
Must ever mysteries remain.
Till some interpreter shall deign
To cause the mists to disappear.
And make what is micertain clear.
And yet there is a golden cord
Uniting hearts, and, though no word
Is spoken by the tongue, it binds
Congenial souls and hearts and minds,
Employs a language, soft and sweet,
Which hidden mysteries unfold,
For, when two hearts in concord meet,
By one soft glance a volume's told.
There is a language of the eye,
A voice and words in softest sigh, —
In crimson blush, in drooping lid, —
Unheard by ears, and wisely hid
HEART LANGUAGE. 165
From cold and callous selfishness,
For this, it could not buoy nor bless,
Nor soothe in sorrow and distress.
But when the heart to heart would speak,
In language sweet, nor silence break.
Would softly, blushiugly reveal
Emotions it delights to feel,
Would whisper love that there may burn.
And, whispering, ask a sweet return.
One tender glance from gentle eye.
One downy, soft, love-laden sigh.
Will drive suspense and doubts away
And worlds of ecstasy convey.
Nor hearts that love, nor hearts that bleed.
That glitf ring guiles and change defy,
No sweeter language crave or need.
Than glance, or smile, or blush, or sigh.
Love has a method, all its own,
Of making its existence known.
And, though *'unutter'd, unexpress'd,"
Its object feels it and is blessed ;
And though an idle throng be near.
They nothing see and nothing hear.
Fair science has the idea caught,
And on it to her profit wrought;
She distance now annihilates,
'Twixt towns and towns, and States and States,
Nor satisfied, aspires to more.
And spans the sea from shore to shore.
IQQ HEART LANGUAGE.
And all the links that bind the parts
Are like to those that bind fond hearts :
The links through which the current flows,
That secret, sacred truths disclose,
Disclose alone to those who send
And who receive at either end, —
Those who, by sympathy or skill,
Control the/lectric bands at will, —
For none may see, or hear or read.
The thoughts that flash with lightning speed,
Save those for whom the words are meant.
And those by whom they all are sent.
Learn, then, the language of tlie eye.
The unspoken words that issue thence,
The hidden meaning of a sigh,
Attain love's bright intelligence.
The heart alone the lesson gives,
The heart alone e'er comprehends.
Alone the unspoken word receives.
Alone the silent answer sends.
Learn all the language of the heart.
Which can so much of joy impart.
Learn this, and on some future day
Thou may'st, perchance, like })oet, say,
" We met, Ave gazed, — I saw and sighed ;
She did not speak, and yet replied."
And though the lips give forth no sound,
Two souls will be together bound.
Two lives united, heart to heart,
In love's bright links that never part.
Malvern, August 3, 1880.
ALL quIET ALONG THE TOMBIGBEE. 167
ALL QUIET ALONG THE TOM-
WRITTEN AT COLUMBUS, MISS., IN MAY, 1864, AND
PUBLISHED IN THE ^'MOBILE EVENING NEWS."
All quiet along the Tombigbee to-day.
Except now and then a scared rabbit
Comes skipping and bounding and then darts away,
From the force of a cowardly habit.
^Tis nothing, for summer has gotten so nigh
That such game is not worth pursuing;
For a rabbit in summer don't make a good pie,
Nor is he much better for stewing.
All quiet along the Tombigbee to-day.
Except a few fogies are wishing
That all of us soldiers would get us away
And not interfere with their fishing;.
It's a serious matter ; for 'tis quite a treat,
For old folks, their sons and fair daughters,
To sit round the board blue cat-fish to eat
From rolling Tombigbee's dark waters.
All quiet along the Tombigbee to-day.
Not the voice of a rooster or pullet
Breaks o'er the waters gliding slowly away,
Nor even the splash of a mullet.
168 -4^^ qUlET ALONG THE TOMBIGBEE.
A catfish came up from the bay of Mobile,
Puffed up with affairs of the nation ;
It hasn't transpired what he had to reveal,
But he woke up a little sensation.
All quiet along the Tombigbee to-day,
No news of a skirmish or battle ;
In calmness the moments are passing away,
With naught to disturb ev'n the cattle.
Tlie people are cheerful as people can be.
And the lassies declare, 'mid their revels,
"So long as weVe got Generals Forrest and Lee,*
We have not a fear of ' blue devils.' "
All quiet along the Tombigbee to-day.
And, every bright moment that passes.
Some soldier, all buoyant and hopeful and gay,
Is whispering love to the lassies.
He expertly tries every love-making trick,
And tries to be wondrously clever.
Till at last he receives a damaging kick,
Then abandons love-making forever.
All quiet along the Tombigbee to-day, •
As quiet and still as a cricket,
The soldiers all gone upon duty away,
Not leaving Columbus a picket.
But Tombigbee's "riz,'' and has sworn in its wratl:
To play thunder with the invaders:
'Tis arming to clear to the ocean a path.
And scatter and sink the blockaders.
* Lieutenant-General Stephen D.
SANTA BARBARA. X69
All quiet along the Tombigbee to-day,
And whisky and gold and shoe-leather
Have vanished, or floated, or been hidden away,
Till each is as rare as cool weather.
But flow on, Tombigbee, IVe neither to sell ;
May battle-guns sound near thee never ;
May here the good people continue to dwell
In quiet contentment forever !
On California's sea-girt plain.
O'er which, year long, soft breezes play,
Borne on the gently rolling main,
I landed one September day.
The marvels Avhich had oft been told —
Of cavern walls in silver wroua^ht.
Of rolling sands o'erspread with gold,
And fabled wealth wherever sought —
Might well have led the mind to look
For ottar sweets on every breeze,
For shining gold in every brook.
And jewels glitt'ring on the trees.
But 'twas not such as these I sought :
Another story I had heard,
Which on my eager fancy caught.
And anxious longings in me stirred.
170 SANTA BARBARA.
Though hoary monsters held the van, —
The proud Sierras, crowned with snow,
A bold, unbroken, dauntless clan,
That seemed to scorn the world below, —
Beyond them, spread a smiling plain.
Along whose shores the wavelets break,
And breezes from the briny main
Drive back the chill from mountain peak ;
Where never buds forgot to bloom.
Nor fruits their luscious flavors lost,
Where nature knew not common doom.
Nor blossoms felt cold winter's frost, —
'Twas this and these I longed to see, —
Nor feel extremes of either zone.
All year the rills and flowers free.
Phenomena I ne'er had known.
Eureka ! ere I touched the sliore
Where Santa Barbara, like a gem.
Lay clustered, I, as times before,
Beheld the vision of a dream.
There, glim'ring in the sun's soft ray.
In nature's robes and jewels dressed.
And smiling sweetly, there it lay,
Like cluster'd gem on beauty's breast.
Entranced I stood ! I scarce had dreamed,
Of scene so wrought to charm the soul.
Which to my 'raptured senses seemed
A paradise, the poet's goal.
Back yonder stand the vine-clad hills.
All robed in verdure soft and sweet,
SANTA BARBARA. . 17]
While, gently flowing, crystal rills
In sunlight sparkle at their feet.
Yon ancient, unassuming pile.
All solitary and alone.
Which seems to wear a ghostly smile, —
Memento of the past and gone, —
Is where the sacred anthems rose,
When yet this Eden was a wild,
And holy monks, who now repose.
On nature's untouched beauties smiled ;
Where, when did evening shades appear,
And light of day grew softly dim.
The wondering natives gathered near.
To hear the solemn vesper hymn.
For there, afar from friends and home,
Esteeming kindred ties as dross,
Long years ago, these monks had come,
And reared aloft the sacred cross.
Around it now these silent walls,
Which o'er the lawn deep shadows cast.
Stand guard, as watchful sentinels.
And link the present with the past.
Embower'd 'mong exotics rare.
Are cosey homes, the valley o'er,
From smiling mountain-base to where
The white-capped wavelets kiss the shore.
The modest church fanes rise to tell
Where pray'rs are offered, blessings sought.
Where sacred anthems sweetly swell.
And worship claims each roving thought.
172 SANTA BARBARA.
My eye and mind dwell on the scene,
And, as the sea-waves dance along,
I fancy, all my thoughts serene,
I catch the harmonies of song ;
For, as the wavelets gently roll.
Their murm'ring sounds like melody,
And something whispers to my soul,
" ^Tis nature's untaught harmony."
The fragrant zephyrs round me play,
Aud thus the stranger gently greet,
They kiss my brow, then float away.
And leave me memories pure and sweet.
I turn my gaze, and calmly sweep
Far out, where soft, cerulean skies
Come down to meet the restless deep.
Then, arching upward, gently rise.
Sweet Santa Rosa ! lovely isle.
Which lies out yonder, on the crest
Of rolling wave, seems there to smile.
Like gem on maiden's heaving breast.
And gem it is, an em'rald green.
That sparkles in the sunny light.
While round it turquoise fringe is seen
And diamond sprays all glitt'ring bright.
Sweet Santa Barbara ! artist's dream
And poet's longed-for, charming home.
May sunlight on thee ever beam.
And tempests nigh thee never come !
SANTA BARBARA. 173
Thy balmy breezes, soft and sweet,
Thy bow'rs and fruits and blossoms rare,
Prove nature wrought her plan complete.
And gave the model to thy care.
Old ocean comes to thee with smiles.
Brings here its contributions free.
And nothiug mars, corrupts, defiles
Thy beauty, name, or purity ;
Thou'rt near enough a paradise,
From all the world's dread ills apart.
Free from corruption and from vice.
Be ever only as thou art.
Nay ; I would have thee still to rise !
Thou hast not reached the acme yet,
Of thy importance or thy size.
Nor would I on these limit set.
March on and up, with might and main,
Let not thy shining star grow dim.
Extend thy sway o'er all the plain.
From mountain's base to ocean's rim.
Till every nation, every clime.
Blessed by Jehovah's bounty free.
Shall know the lovely and sublime,
And willing tribute pay to thee.
174 ROCK THAT CRADLE!
KOCK THAT CKADLE!
Rock that cradle! baby's sniffling!
Was there ever sucli a one,
Such a darling, lovely cherub,
Since the world and time begun ?
He is just a gem of beauty.
And he has such pretty eyes ;
Never, never was his equal
Seen down here below the skies.
Rock him gently, let him slumber.
Slumber sweetly, darling one.
Rock that cradle, rock that cradle,
Rock that cradle, John !
Rock that cradle ! In it slumbers
One for some grand purpose sent, —
One to shine in verse and story.
Or be Pope or President.
Who shall say that wreaths of laurel
Will not yet adorn his brow.
Or his voice will not awaken
Echoes ? for it wakes them now,
Full of nature's untrained music,
Sometimes loud and shrill in tone.
But he sniffles ! Rock that cradle.
Rock that cradle, John !
ROCK THAT CRADLE! 175
Kock that cradle ! let the darling
Slumber sweetly now and grow,
For, ere long, the world will need him
To enlighten it, we know.
Senates then, no doubt, will listen
To the music of his voice, —
Listen, and be charmed to silence
(]N"ow we sometimes have no choice) ;
Listen, and perchance adjudge him
Of his race a paragon.
But he's waking ! Eock that cradle,
Kock that cradle, John !
Eock that cradle ! do it gently;
Though it's sometliing new to you.
It is time that you were learning.
For there's lots of it to do.
Then, it is so interesting.
And will yield such wealth of joys,
By the time that you have briskly
Eocked a dozen girls and boys.
Sing a lullaby all softly;
If he squirms and whines, rock on,
Sing the louder, rock the harder,
Eock til at cradle, John !
Sardis, Miss., June 12, 1880.
176 CALHOUN'S AT REST.
CALHOUN'S AT REST.*
Calhoun's at rest. Oh, let him sleep !
Could slumber be diviner
Than his within the bosom deep
Of his dear Carolina !
His brilliant star of life has set ;
The winds were sadly sighing,
And every eye around him wet,
While he was calmly dying.
His spirit soared where angels are
As calmly, softly even.
As at the dawn the morning star
Melts in the light of Heaven.
Lay lightly turf upon his breast;
Let flowers o'er him blossom,
For these can ne'er disturb his rest
Nor weigh upon his bosom.
A nation's tears like dew-drops fell
When he sank down in glory.
And hearts still with affection swell
When tongues repeat his story.
"^ These unassuming lines were written many years ago, and
not long after the death of Mr. Calhoun, whom I knew per-
sonally. They have never been published, and are offered now
to gratify some of my friends, who desire to see them in print.
THE BLIGHTED FLOWER. 177
Then let him sleep, the honored one
His rest will be diviner,
Within the bosom of his own
Dear native Carolina.
THE BLIGHTED FLOWER.
[Written on contemplating the portrait of a beautiful school-
girl, Miss A. M., who died from home.]
DEDICATED TO HER PARENTS.
I KNEW her not, yet there she stands.
With rosy cheeks and radiant brow,
With sylph-like form and arms and hands.
And eyes that sparkle even now.
They tell me — but they need not tell —
That she was gentle, graceful, fair,
A gem of maidenhood, and well,
I read it on the canvas there.
Her voice, they say, was soft and sweet, —
^olian harp of nature's own, —
With faultless melody replete.
Like that around the great white throne ;
And doubtless it is thrilling there,
Amid the happy choral band.
For she, an angel bright and fair.
Is roaming now the heav'nly land.
178 MF ANGEL CHILD.
'Tis but a semblance here I see,
That soft black eye and placid brow,
And yet it seems to speak to me
And say, " I am an angel now" ;
And then she seems to bid me come
Up to that haven of the blest,
Her own celestial, happy home.
Where there is rest, eternal rest.
Yes, fair one! and, though thou and I
Had never met each other here,
I feel that in the by and by
We'll meet and know- each other there.
Child of my friends ! may I and they.
With thee and other loved ones gone.
Meet, in the bright eternal day.
Where pain and parting are unknown !
MY ANGEL CHILD.
Fahewell, farewell, my angel child.
Sweet blossom of a day ;
I must not mourn, since God has smiled
And beckon'd thee away.
Farewell, farewell, my own sweet one.
All purity and love;
Thou'rt freed from pain, and now art gone
To live with God above.
MV ANGEL CHILD. 179
Thou wert beloved, none ever knew,
None here could know, how well ;
And hearts sincere, and warm and true.
Will ever love thee still.
If happy spirits ever know,
In yon pure world above,
The passing scenes of earth below.
Thou knowest that we love.
Thou knowest, too, that bitter tears
Have flowed, intense and free,
Our once bright home a sadness wears,
It never knew with thee.
But let me mourn ! rest where thou art !
Though grief this bosom rack.
Though sorrow burst this bleeding heart,
I would not call thee back.
No ; thou art free from sorrow now,
Thy body's free from pain ;
A cro.wn of life is on thy brow,
Oh ! let it there remain.
Keturn to this cold world of vice ?
No, no ; thou art too fair ;
Stay where thou art in paradise,
And I will meet thee there.
All, yes ! my cherished one, we'll meet
When my life-dream is o'er;
And then — the thought e'en now is sweet-
" We'll meet to part no more."
Then farewell, cherub, for a while,
We'll meet again ere long,
I'll see again thy happy smile.
And hear thy joyous song.
That voice, which here was faint and low.
Shall thrill upon my ear.
When to the land of bliss I go.
In accents sweet and clear.
Yes ; I shall see and know thee there.
And clasp thee to this heart.
Farewell ! we'll meet where angels are.
And never more to part.
"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean." — Tennyson.
Teaes, sparkling tears, that lightly course their way
Adown the young and fair or furrowed cheek.
Are they unmeaning, hollow, idle? Nay;
But in the tones of thrilling joy they speak
They tell of some bright dream of happiness,
Some taste of bliss, too pure, too sweet to last,
Some gleam of light, some ray of heavenly peace,
That e'en illumes the dark and gloomy past;
They have no voice to tell us of despair,
They speak an absence of all doubt and dread.
They point within, and tell us peace is there :
Ah me ! such tears as these I love to shed.
Tears, friendly tears, that come, like morning dew.
To add a sweetness to each blooming flower.
Affirm that friendship is sincere and true,
And not an idle fancy of an hour;
Or they, perchance, are summoned up in gloom,
To glisten in the light that beams above.
While, melancholy, we approach the tomb
Of one who shared our warmest, purest love, —
Of one who hung, as we are hanging now.
To life upon a feeble, Avasting thread.
Which snapt when death's cold finger touched his
Tears, tears like these friendship will freely shed.
Tears, bitter tears, that sad and silent flow.
As "from the depth of some divine despair,"
They are not idle, but too plainly show
The heart is warm, and pure, and pain is there ;
That sorrow's hand has aimed his poisoned dart,
And let it fly with whistling speed along
The flow'ry way, deep deep into the heart
Which knew no guile and never harbored wrong.
They sparkle not, with pleasure nor with mirth, —
Nay, when they come the light of peace has fled, —
In gloom and woe they have their hapless birth ;
And tears like these, alas ! are often shed.
Tears, sacred tears, with love and virtue glow;
Pure as the mild and twinkling morning star,
Pure as the flakes of gently-falling snow,
Which tap the casement, then dissolve in air,
Pure as the silv'ry beams that sweetly play
Around the calm and modest queen of night.
Pure as the rays that gild the God of Day
And give a dazzling richness to his light :
Tliey roll along, calm, silently, and slow ;
They tell of love for living and for dead ;
They plainly speak, they do not idly flow :
When " Jesus wept,'' such tears as these were shed.
Tears, flowing tears, oh ! be they dark or bright.
Called forth by joy, by sorrow, or despair.
They ever tell us that the heart is right.
And love is still a nurtured flower there.
And let the world be dreary as it may,
Misfortunes come in all their chilling pow'r.
Adversity and woe obstruct our way.
They cannot blast that ever-blooming flow'r.
Dost thou desire a steadfast friend, to keep
Unchanged when gloom is gathering o'er thy head ?
Find one who can with thee, in sorrow, weep.
And love him for the pearly dew-drops shed.
ROSH HOSHANAH. 183
RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO MRS. DR. SAMFIELD.
The Temple on the New Year holiday,
With open door, near by the busy mart, —
Its pulpit decked in snowy white array,
All typical of purity of heart, —
Inviting stood for Israel itish band.
Or careless Gentiles, who the pavements trod,
For all, of every race and creed and land.
Whose spirits knew, whose hearts acknowledged,
No frowning sentinel forbade the way.
No burnished cimeter o'erhung the door,
But welcome was for all who came to pray.
Alike the high and low, the rich and poor.
Nor questions were they asked of faith or creed.
The welcome was to Gentile as to Jew ;
Respectful bearing was the only need.
Which in the " House of God" is always due.
A Christian wended there his way that morn.
In reverential silence viewed the scene, —
* These thoughts suggested themselves to my mind while at-
tending the services of the Jewish synagogue in Memphis on
Monday, September 6, 1880.
184 ROSU HOSHANAII.
The celebration of the year new born, —
His bosom calm and all his thoughts serene.
He heard the soft, sweet strains of music rise,
Then in a vast, melodious volume swell.
To charm the o'erarching, listening skies,
And charm the list'ning soul of earth as w^ell.
The words that fell from Rabbi's lips, when heard.
Were in a dialect unknown to him.
Yet, though he understood no sign nor word.
And his perceptions of their bent were dim,
A something Avhispered softly to his heart,
Tiiat what he saw no idle mock'ry was.
But that, devoutly, free from show or art.
The worshippers were honoring sacred laws. -
It said, " These all with humble hearts are here.
According to their faith, to honor One,
Upon the dawn of their religious year.
Who for mankind, the world, so much has done";
To honor Him, the God of truth and love,
The same Great One whom Christians, too, adore,
The same who rules on earth and reigns above.
And who will rule and reign when Time's no more.
And, 'mid the strains of music floating there
In sweetest harmony, the Christian heard
The sound of trumpet on the stilly air,
And every note a soft emotion stirred ;
It wafted thought to Time's outlying shore,
Where Gabriel's trump shall waken hope and dread,
ROSH HOSHANAH. 135
When he proclaims that time shall be no more,
And from their lowly couches calls the dead.
The Christian's heart was sensibly impressed :
Though mystery, — as 'twere, behind a screen, —
It stirred reflection deep within his breast,
For 'twas to him a holy, solemn scene.
He prayed for charity and love and light.
He prayed for gratitude and strength and grace,
That he might always, everywhere, do right,
And run with patient rectitude his race.
And, as the last soft strains of music fell
Upon his ear, they struck responsive chords
Within his heart ; he felt the glowing swell
Of inspiration, too intense for words.
He bowed his head, with all the hundreds there.
The benediction to receive, and then,
Ere turning to descend the winding stair,
Kesponded, humbly, ferv^ently, " Amen."
Sardis, Miss., Sept. 11, 1880.
186 ^ TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION.
A TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION TO THE
REV. ROBERT PAINE, D.D.,
SENIOR BISHOP OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAE
Hail, man of God ! upon the ramparts still,
Where tjion, a fearless, faithful sentinel,
Hast stood so long to do thy Master's will
And guard his flock from danger, death, and hell ;
I hail thee ! love thee, venerate thy name,
Esteem thy life of labor and of love.
Give honor to thy faith, a quenchless flame.
Lit from the holy fire that burns above.
A living lamp thou art, a beacon bright
To warn and guide the wanderer on his way.
The erring lead from darkness into light.
And mark the dangers that before them lay.
Nor time has dimmed the brightness of that blaze
Which long has flung its warning beams abroad ;
There still it burns, exposing sin's dark ways.
And points the path to safety and to God.
Thou standest firm, unyielding and unbent.
Age marks thy brow, yet in thy work no pause.
Thy life its own, its deathless monument
Of faithful service in thy Master's cause.
A TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION. 187
And though may stately marble column rise,
To mark the spot where, mortal, thou shalt lie,
Yet thou shalt find, above the misty skies,
That life renewed, no more again to die.
Thy fourscore years of usefulness gone by,
Are filled with precious memories, and sweet.
With here and there, perchance, a tear or sigh.
And soon thy work on earth will be complete.
Then thou shalt hear a tender, loving voice.
And His face see, " bright shining as the sun,''
While angels round th' eternal throne, rejoice
With thee, to hear the Master say, " Well done.'^
Sublime old man ! ruler, yet servant, too ;
Born to command, yet none more prompt to serve,
To work where'er thou findest aught to do,
And face sin's dark cohorts with dauntless nerve.
How sweet to thee to contemplate the past.
From life's fair morn to mellow, rosy eve !
And then its closing scene with hope o'ercast.
And naught but pleasing memories to leave.
And fame is thine; but what to thee is fame?
'Tis nothing ; nay, 'tis even less than naught
Beside thy Christian character and name;
And yet it perched upon thy brow unsought.
Despise it not, for 'twas thy Master's will.
That thou might'st wield more power the lost to save ;
He knew full well thou would'st thy measure fill.
And add ten talents unto those he gave.
188 A TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION.
To liave a hope, an active faith, like thine,
A blameless, fruitful life, like thine to live.
If all the wealth of Ocean^s caves were mine.
The whole, and more than all, I'd gladly give.
Not for thy earthly fame, — no, no ! not this,
Though on Fame's column high thy name will shine, —
But for the hope, the faith, the peaceful bliss.
The life and name unspotted that are thine.
Perchance I err, and yet I love thee more
For loving counsel kindly, gently giv'n
To one who through long years affliction bore,
But who has now before us gone to heav'n.
There thou wilt find him ; there, too, wilt thou know
How he revered and honored thee while here,
And his pure heart with warmer love will glow
For thee, up in that brighter, purer sphere.
Myriads of such, stand ready there to greet
Thy well-earned entrance through the pearly gate.
And, doubtless now the thought to them is sweet.
They have but few more days or years to wait.
Then will, through vaulted dome, the echoes fly,
As angel tongues repeat the glad refrain.
When calmly dawns the sweet " Sweet by and by,"
"Hosannah to the Lamb for sinners slain!"
Ten thousand souls are on the other shore.
Freed from this world of trouble, toil, and strife.
Ten thousand there, and here ten thousand more,
Who from thy lips received the word of life ;
A TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION. 189
And these are jewels, peerless, fair, and bright,
Which, when thy well-worn armor is laid down
And thou art called to yonder world of light.
Shall shine and glitter ever in thy crown.
Yet, when archangeFs trump shall end the strife
And thou art called up yonder to appear,
The bright example of thy holy life
Shall still remain, a shining beacon here.
And, though the crystal tear-drops gently fall
From weeping eyes, and even strangers sigh,
Yet, fondly cherished in the hearts of all,
Shalt thou still sweetly live and never die.
God bless thee ! during here on earth thy stay
Hang o^er thee cloudless canopies and fair.
With sweetest flowers bestrew thy peaceful way.
Till He shall call thee to Himself up there!
Where thou shalt meet a Wesley and a Soule,
With countless millions of redeemed and blest.
Thy spirit find its Saviour and its goal.
And enter into blissful, endless rest.
Sardis, Miss., Jan. 24, 1879.
190 WHOSE LIFE IS LIKE THE SUMMER ROSE?
WHOSE LIFE IS LIKE THE SUM-
Whose life is like the summer rose,
Which decks with beauty hill and vale,
Perfumes the air at evening's close.
And greets with smiles the blushing dawn ?
Yet, when the wintry tempests blow
And earth is wrapt in ice and snow,
'Tis scattered o'er the ground and dead.
And none will pause a tear to shed.
One life was all it had to give.
While man, immortal, yet may live.
Whose life is like the autumn leaf.
Which erevvhile gladsome verdure wore.
But now — like stricken heart, which grief
Has seared and crushed — can smile no more ?
It neither hope nor sorrow knows,
Sleeps on nor dreams of future woes.
Heedless alike of joy or pain.
No trump can wake to life again.
But man, though cold and dead he be.
May rise to immortality.
Whose life is like the footprints seen
Upon the sands where wavelets play,
* Answer to " My Life is like the Bummer Kose," by Ricbsird
WHOSE LIFE IS LIKE THE SUMMER ROSE? 191
And which, though they were there yestreen,
This morning all are washed away?
The rolling tide of restless sea,
Which laves at morn and eve the lea,
Swept over and erased each track,
Nor pow'r is known to bring it back.
All gone, like summer rose and leaf ;
Like flitting dreams, their impress brief.
But man, though he too j)ass away,
Must rise to meet the judgment day.
My life, thank God ! is not like these,
Not like the footprints, rose, or leaf.
Though it may pass like autumn breeze.
And what remains may be as brief.
Though piercing, wintry tempests beat.
Enrobing earth in snow and sleet.
And blast on blast shall Avildly sweep
The snow-drifts o'er me where I sleep,
And heap and pile tliem on my breast.
Still calm and sweet will be my rest.
But, unlike footprint, leaf, or rose.
Which pass away and are no more.
Though in the grave my form repose.
My living soul away shall soar.
The ice-cold snow may percolate
Through yiekling sod, or solid plate.
And colder make tlie grave's damp air.
They will not find my spirit there.
192 MAMMA'S TWO LITTLE ANGELS.
Leaf, rose, and footprint all are gone,
Forgotten as though never known;
But I, though dead, shall livuig rise
To peaceful mansions in the skies.
And, while eternity shall roll,
My name shall shine ujx)n its scroll.
Sardis, Miss., October 27, 1879.
MAMMA'S TWO LITTLE ANGELS.*
" Mamma, you have told me often
In your teachings, day by day.
When my feelings you would soften,
Of a heaven far away.
^ " Going to Meet Her Brother, — A sad and touching in-
cident of the scarlet fever epidemic occurred on Thursda3^ A
little sister and brother lay sick, and on Wednesday night the
little boy died. The next morning the little sister was informed of
it, and, at her request, was carried into the adjoining chamber to
look for the last time at her brother.
" ' Has he gone to heaven?' she asked.
" ' Yes,' answered the mother, with a sob.
" ' Well, then,' remarked the little suiFerer, with a deep sigh,
' I guess Iwill go to see him to-night.'
She prattled on for a few minutes longer, and suddenly cried,
' No, I guess I won't wait till to-night ; I feel like I was going
"She laid her head against her mother's shoulder, told her
good-by, and died in her arms." — EvaiisvlUe, hid., Journal.
MAMMA'S TWO LITTLE ANGELS. I93
'Tis the home, you told me, mamma,
Of the angels pure and fair ;
Tell me, now, has little brother
Gone to be an angel there ?"
"Yes, my darling, Jesus took him :
He who ever loved him here.
And through sickness ne'er forsook him,
Now has taken him up there.
Little brother is an angel,
Free from sickness and from pain ;
Neither these, nor care nor sorrow.
He Avill ever know again/'
" Mamma, I will go to see him
In the shadows of to-night.
And, I shall not fear the darkness.
For you said the way was bright. —
No ; I will not wait for evening,
But, while daylight 'lumes my brow, —
Kiss me good-by, darling mamma ! —
I will go to see him now.
" 'Twill be sweet with little brother,
Whom we both so fondly love.
Where there'll be no scarlet fever.
Through the flow'ry vales to rove.
We shall give the Lord no trouble,
But will have his loving care.
And you'll have two little angels
Waiting, mamma, for you there."
Sardis, Miss., Oct. 11, 1879.
Is it a place, a gloomy, dark abode
Of spirits damned, from light and hope cut off?
Of souls of men who spurned Jehovah's code,
And here delighted holy things to scoif ?
Ah ! who shall dare the curtain's rim to raise,
And glance beyond, that he may then refel,
Or else confirm, on what shall meet his gaze,
The awful view " fanatics" give of hell !
It may not with sulphurous odors lade
The air, nor blaze with flames of quenchless fire.
Whose darting tongues the sonl cannot evade.
And in whose lashings longs but to expire.
It may not be a burning lake, beneath
Whose smoking, boiling waters writhe in pain
The tortured souls, or who, to gnash their teeth,
Kise to the surface but to sink again.
A horned demon may not revel there
In greedy gladness o'er his victim's woes,
A hideous monster, e'en whose smiles to share
Were hell more dismal than could seer disclose.
* Subject suggested by a friend.
No slimy scorpion, dark, repulsive thing,
May dart in wild, demoniac delight.
To lash despairing souls with poisonous sting,
Nor heed their piteous wailings for respite.
No ; none of these, of which the Gospels tell.
May have existence, save in sacred verse ;
Yet conscience whisj)ers that there is a hell.
And, if not such as these, 'tis only worse:
Ay, conscience! faithful monitor, which God
Has given man to be his friend and guide.
To warn him of the dangers on his road.
And help him from the '^ storm of life" to hide.
It may be this which constitutes to man, —
At least while, ^'earthy," he on earth may dwell,
And quickened e'en, perhaps, beyond life's span, —
Though once his truest friend, his darkest hell.
An unrepented, unrequited wrong
Will live within, though hid from human eyes,
AVill wound and shock the conscience, pain it long :
And conscience is a part that never dies.
Its lashings goad, with more than scorpion stings.
The erring soul that rudely disregards
Its warning voice, till even Mercy's wings
Are spread for flight, and Heaven itself discards
The hardened one, to sin a servile slave.
While Justice sounds Hope's solemn, dismal knell.
And then, with not a hand outstretched to save.
The conscience-tortured soul sinks into hell.
Death only quickens — death does not destroy —
The finer senses ; these tenderness it gives
To feel a deeper pain, intenser joy,
As long as that which is immortal lives.
Alas ! man knows the past is 'yond recall ;
His self- wrought doom he cannot charge to " fate" ;
And, though he prays for rocks on him to fall,
The voice of conscience drowns his prayer, " too late!"
" Too late, too late !" what bitter words to hear !
As on some lonely island, far from home.
The laggard sees the white sails disappear,
Hope dies, despair and death become his doom.
But even on the lonely isle may shine
A ray of light, to gild the darkened sky.
Revive his blasted hopes, and make them twine
Around a Friend who cannot fail nor die.
But, when the cold, dark stream of death is crossed,
And hope has vanished, tempests gather o'er,
The anguished soul's soliloquy is ^' Lost,
Forever lost, upon th' eternal shore !"
In wretchedness, an outcast hence to roam.
Companion of the rude, the base, the vile.
Through ages still, and ever still, to come.
Nor wring from conscience one relenting smile.
Oh ! this were hell indeed, deep, dark, and dire, —
'Twere not the calm repose of " dust to dust," —
A hell far worse than scorpion stings or fire.
And bitfrer still to know that it is just;
MAKE HOME BRIGHT. I97
For, 'mid the lashings of a conscience wronged,
The sharpest, keenest sting a soul can know
Must be the thought that, while was life prolonged.
Itself wrought out its everlasting woe.
To feel and know, a gulf so broad and deep
That even thought, with its mysterious pow'r
And more than lightning speed, can ne'er o'erleap,
Rolls 'twixt the soul and loved ones evermore ;
To feel that peace and hope, forever gone.
Have left alone despair, with it to dwell.
To writhe in anguish, and to feel and own ^
That all is just, — this to the soul is hell !
Sardis, Miss., May 22, 1880.
MAKE HOME BRIGHT.
Make home bright and joyous ever.
Let it be the one sweet spot
Where discord can enter never.
Scenes of harmony to blot.
There let sunshine, cloudless, cheery,
Beam on all with gladdening smile;
Sweet asylum for the weary.
Free from discontent and guile.
Make home bright to happy childhood.
Let these buds of beauty grow
198 MAKE HOME BRIGHT.
Like the flowers in the wild wood,
Fragrance o'er life's scenes to throw.
These, potential ever proving
Clouds of care to drive away,
With caresses fond and loving,
Will your tender care repay.
Make home bright, let no exactions.
No contentions, youth repel ;
Filled with love and sweet attractions,
Make it pleasant there to dwell.
Then, when wily tempter, smiling.
Seeks to lure the loved away.
All his artful, false beguiling
Cannot lead fair youth astray.
Make home bright, and make it joyous,
Ev'n when dark misfortunes come ;
These may wound, but ne'er destroy us.
Solace sweet we find at home.
Then, though life seem dark and dreary,
Though by care we be oppress'd,
Yet, when wounded, sore, and weary,
Home can give us joy and rest.
Malvern Villa, Aus:. 4, 1879.
THE BRIGHT BEYOND. ]99
THE BRIGHT BEYOND.
DEDICATED AS A TEIBUTE OF EESPECT TO MES.
S. H. G.
We have loved ones over yonder,
Who have crossed the rolling tide,
And our love will all be fonder
When we reach the other side.
They have crossed the shining river.
In the heavenly city wait.
And, when we too have crossed over.
They will meet us at the gate.
Life has here its cup of sorrow.
Which we all, alas ! must drain,
And yet know that each to-morrow
We must drink its dregs again.
Now and then, while here we wander.
We may yield to dark despair ;
But 'tis sweet to know up yonder
We shall find deliverance there.
Life's brief voyage will soon be over.
And its storms and tempests past.
Then we'll joyfully discover
That its sorrows cannot last.
200 ^^^ CRAPE UPON THE DOOR-KNOB.
Though the waves may sink us under,
Nor allow us peace or rest,
There is sweet repose up yonder
In the mansions of the blest.
May thy days be free from sadness,
And thy heart ne'er know a pain.
But may peace and joy and gladness
Ever in thy bosom reign !
May no sorrow e'er distress thee,
Nor a cloud above thee loom.
But may here kind Heaven bless thee.
And up yonder make thy home !
THE CRAPE UPON THE DOOR-
Adown a quiet street, one sunny day,
I sauntered, heedless where my footsteps led;
The sunbeams, here and there along the way,
A weird-like glamour all around me spread.
The summer zephyrs gently fanned my brow,
The green-robed trees their cooling shadows flung
Across the pave, while from his chosen bough
The feathered chorister his anthem sung.
THE CRAPE UPON THE DOOR-KNOB. 201
No hum of turmoil fell upon my ear,
No rumbling wheels, no craftsman's song, no cry,
No muffled sound, from distant mart came near,
Upon the breeze that floated softly by.
Hard by a modest cottage, stood in line
On either side the street, in silence there,
A cortege, such as gives unfailing sign
Of festive throng, or sad event and drear.
The bird-notes fainter fell as on I strode,
Until, when I the vicinage attained.
The last sweet cadence of the sylvan ode
Was borne away, and tranquil silence reigned.
From face to face I glanced, in unspoke quest
Of such solution as might those unfold ;
They only seemed by silent gloom oppressed ;
But — on the door-knob — crape the story told.
'Twas voiceless, and no uttered word it said.
And yet, it told a plaintive tale of woe:
Within that peaceful home Death's dart had sped.
And dealt a mother's heart a bitter blow.
I knew too well, by sad experience taught.
How deep had struck the cruel barbed dart ;
How much of pain and anguish it had wrought
In that fond mother's anxious, loving heart.
202 THE CRAPE UPON THE DOOR-KNOB.
Ah ! she had watched with unremitting care,
Through silent, sleepless nights and weary days,
Buoyed now with hope, now overwhelmed with fear,
As moments brought some bright or sombre phase.
In trembling hope the soothing draught she gave,
And strove, with loving hand, to cool the brow ;
Alas! 'twas but "anointing for the grave"
The tender one who slumbers sweetly now.
And she, perhaps, had wrestled too in prayer.
Had sought the closet, and, on bended knee,
In spirit longings borne her darling there.
Where God alone her bleeding heart could see.
Unburdened there that heart before His eye,
And, striving vainly calm to be and mild,
Sent up its longings in one pleading cry :
" O Father ! spare, oh, spare my darling child!''
And yet, with humble and submissive faith,
Though all her life seemed centered in that one,
She schooled herself to yield it up to death.
And say, "Thy will, not mine, O Lord ! be done."
She knew that she could trust to Him above, —
Who knows and ever does what seemeth best, —
The One whose nature and whose name is love.
And who had, always, children loved and blessed.
Bat when at last the fatal dart was sped,
And there her precious, darling, loved one lay,
All calm as angel's dream, but cold and dead.
Her mother's heart to bitter grief gave way.
Yet, like the cloud with fringing, all sublime,
Her very grief bore antidote for pain :
Faith told her she, beyond the shores of Time,
Would meet and clasp the darling one again.
Intrude no further on that atmosphere,
Nor seek its sacred sorrows to unfold ;
Drop gently now a veil, perchance a tear.
O'er what ^^ the crape upon the door-knob" told.
Sakdis, Miss., July 24, 1880.
WRITTEN ON THE BRIDAL MORNING OF A COUPLE
OF YOUNG FRIENDS.
On Life's voyage they have started,
Hand in hand and side by side,
Buoyant, hopeful, happy-hearted.
Manly groom and lovely bride.
Skies are beaming brightly o'er them,
Breezes swell with music's strain,
Flow'ry vistas spread before them.
Echoing the sweet refrain.
Not in nature's lovely bower —
Rich in gems on ev'iy side —
Can be found a sweeter flower
Than the fair, young, blooming bride.
In her heart fond love is dreaming,
Dreaming of its earthly goal,
While her eyes are brightly beaming,
Index of a peerless soul.
With a faith sublime and steady,
Does her heart enthrone its king.
Trusting, loving, ever ready
For whatever Fate may bring.
And he, but too proud to yield her
Love that can ev'n life outlast.
Will as proudly, fondly shield her
From Misfortune's cruel blast.
Bride and bridegroom ! may they ever
Journey sweetly side by side,
And may cloud above them never
Loom, the light of love to hide !
May they fondly love each other
Till their dream of life be past.
Then may both be housed together
In the realms of bliss at last !
Malvern Villa, Nov. 25, 1879.
All calm the overarching skies,
And breezes soft as maiden's sighs,
Above her Luna hovers long,
As if to drink the wealth of song
Fair Art seems disinclined to roam :
Content she is to make her home,
Where purest inspiration breathes
Into her soul, and beauty wreathes
The earth and skies.
There poesy delights to dwell.
And glen and grove with music swell.
While concord reio-ns ;
The dullest soul would be inspired.
The coldest heart and tongue be fired
To thrilling strains.
There nature's sweetest flowers grow.
And aromatic zephyrs blow.
And linger long ;
There dark-eyed maidens sweetly smile,
And all life's ills and cares beguile.
Or charm, with song.
There raem'ries rise, all silver wrought,
With poetry and valor fraught,
Where pen and lance.
Where mind and prowess, wealth and law,
Held all the world in trembling awe
Or speechless trance.
Then rose a mist, and then a cloud.
Then whispered discord, and then loud,
Till, beaming past.
The fair, the heroic, and all,
By sadness and a mournful pall
Then regal pow'r was snatched from Rome,-
The artist, and the poet's home, —
But still remained
Her sunny skies, her deathless fame.
And these, with her world-honored name,
She still retained.
They still are hers, and 'round her throw
A soft and sweet, yet pensive, glow.
That charms the soul.
Thougli lost her diadem, yet Rome
Will ever be the artist's home.
The poet's goal.
Saudis, Miss., July 30, 1880.
REVERIES OF A BACHELOR. 207
REVERIES OF A BACHELOR.
Yes, I am kicked again ! and now
I really am afraid,
Crow-tracks are coming on my brow
And gray hairs on my head.
Tliey'll soon call me "the ancient beau,"
And coldly pass me by,
Smile on me only when they know
There are no young ones nigh.
Perhaps they'll think me *^ handy" when
They would attend a ball,
And younger beaux are scarce, and then
It's me or none at all.
And yet what can a fellow do
His standing to retain ?
IVe courted every girl I knew,
And courted all in vain.
Methinks they should my merits see, —
But then, somehow, they don't, —
Or, if they will not marry me.
It's just because they won't.
I pity them sometimes, that they
Are all so blind and weak.
And let the chances slip away,
That would their fortunes make.
208 REVERIES OF A BACHELOR.
Now, there's Miss Katie and Miss Lou,
Miss Sallie and Miss Fan,
Miss Cynthiana and Miss Sue,
Miss Terapie and Miss Ann,
Miss Nancy and Miss Josephine,
Miss Maggie and Miss Dell,
Miss Emma and Miss Geraldine,
Miss Bettie and Miss Belle,
Miss Adaline and Miss Marquese,
Miss Lizzie and Miss Flo ;
And I have courted all of these.
And every one said " No !"
My first few kicks made me, somehow.
Quite sensitive to touch.
But I have had just twenty now,
And do not mind 'em much.
'Tis no doubt better to be free
(I think my judgment's sound)
Than have a wife to lecture me.
And cuflP and jerk me round.
I now may smoke my pipe in peace.
And litter up my room ;
And if I drop a spot of grease,
I do not fear the broom.
My hair is safe upon my head,
Though blown and tossed about,
And I don't feel the least afraid
Of having it "jerked" out.
REVERIES OF A BACHELOR. 209
I pity Tompkins, Smith, and Dow,
And eTackson, Jones, and Wood,
But they are in the trap, and now
My pity'U do no good.
'Tis true they all wear smiles, and so,
Contented seem to be,
But this is all put on, I know,
And cannot juggle me.
Now, here I sit and sip my punch.
My toddy, or my ale ;
In yonder cupboard is my lunch,
Although a little stale ;
There are no squalling brats around,
To aggravate my life,
Nor, with the tongs my head to pound,
A fretful scolding wife.
Upon the whole, I will not try
The matrimonial sham;
I like a quiet life, and I
Will take it as I am.
Sardis, Miss., July 3, 1880.
210 LITTLE ROBIN.
He sleeps ! Wake him not ; disturb not his rest,
Nor crave his clear prattle to please iis ;
His slumber is sweet, his pillow the breast.
The fond, loving bosom, of Jesus.
Though parted a while, 'tis but for a while.
For sweet little Robin will meet us ;
When upward we mount, his bright, happy smile
Will first at the pearly gate greet us.
Such partings must come, — we know they must come,-
But He who rules lovingly o'er us
Has promised us there an eternal home,
And loved ones are housed there before us.
And ev'n tho' we feel weighed down with despair,
There's solace in this sweet reflection.
That our loved ones, who precede us up there.
Will grow on to spotless perfection.
Be comforted, then, though bitter the blow.
And seeming our heart-strings to sever:
Up yonder we'll join our darlings, and know
There'll be no more parting forever.
"/ AM READY.'' 211
Oh, then, wake him not; still let him sleep od ;
For loving ones now are around him, —
The loving ones who to that hav'n have gone ;
Be sure they have sought for and found him.
■ He sleeps ! Wake him not ; disturb not his rest,
Howe'er his sweet prattle would please us ;
'Tis far sweeter now, in the home of the blest,
Attuned to the praises of Jesus.
But, oh ! let us go to live with him there.
And with other dear ones, wliere never
One bitter farewell shall break on the air.
But union continues forever.
Malvern, Sept. 1, 1879.
"I AM READY.''*
Morning dawns all fair and beaming,
Promising a cloudless day.
And its sunlight 'round me gleaming
Scatters jewels on my way.
. ^ ■
* On the 5th of Septemher, 1878, the yellow-fever alarm in Sar-
dis seemed to increase. Its advent had been apprehended since it
became epidemic in Memphis and Grenada, between which places
Sardis is equidistant, on the railroad connecting the two. Some
citizens had gone into the country ; others had made, and were
making, arrangements to go, and a few had volunteered to the
212 ''I ^M READY.''
Bright they sparkle, fadeless, steady,
But if clouds their brightness blot
Or obscure it, "I am ready"
To submit, and murmur not.
'Round me now loved friends are smiling.
And the dearer ones smile too,
Heart and thought and hope beguiling,
As the loving ever do.
These are cheering me already,
Sweetening life; but if they be
Taken from me, " I am ready," —
Ready, Lord, to bow to Thee.
Life flows on like shining river.
Crystal gems the eye to greet.
Murmuring low and gently ever
Songs and anthems pure and sweet.
board of health to remain and do duty in case the fever appeared.
Among these latter was my son Fred. His parents objected, and
he had been striving for days to overcome their opposition, tell-
ing his mother that he wanted " to do some good before he died,"
and he thought this would "afford him an opportunity." She
still objected, and on this evening told him, as nurses, Howards,
and physicians were taking the fever, he would almost certainly
have it, and, delicately constituted as he was, would in all likeli-
hood die. "Well, mother," he calmly replied, "if I die I am
ready." The next morning he met an accidental death, brought
on by an affliction which he had borne unmurmuringly from
his boyhood. We never saw him alive after the night of the 5th.
He was an efficient steward in the church at Sardis, and Noble
Grand of his lodge (I. O. O. F.) at the time of his death, and
from boyhood had been an exemplary and active member of the
church (thirteen years), being twenty-six when he died.
''7 AM READY.'' 213
It is pleasant, but should eddy
Stop its flow, its music end,
Bring stagnation, " I am ready"
For whatever He may send.
" Life is "real, life is earnest,"
So the poet sweetly sung.
And poor feeble human nature
To this life has fondly clung.
But my heart has learned already
There's a purer life, all fixir.
And, for that one " I am ready" ;
Heaven its home, I'll find it there.
Birds are singing, flowers blooming.
Zephyrs, laden with perfume.
Fan my brow, while o'er me looming
Skies their brightest hues assume, —
All God's handiwork, and said He,
" All are good." They make me glad.
If He hides them " I am ready,"
Thankful for the glimpse I've had.
Sweet the smiles of fond affection.
Sweet the glance of friendly eye.
Sweet kind solace in affliction,
Sweet the thought that by and by
One who, though unseen, already
Loves me, and will call me home ;
Sweet to feel that " I am ready,"
And can answer, " Lo, I come !"
214 "^ ^^^ READY.''
Vanish every scene of beauty,
Vanish smiles of friendship too;
Let me faithful be to duty,
And "some good" while living do.
Hand and heart all firm and steady,
Pestilence may strike me down.
But I fear not : " I am ready," —
Eeady for the cross or crown.
Intervene no dreams of pleasure, —
These I yield without a sigh, —
But, there is a priceless treasure
AVhich can never fade nor die.
This, undimmed, will ever steady
Bright amid life's sorrows shine,
And, when death comes, " I am ready,"
For, this priceless gem is mine.
Gone, my boy ! while I, without thee
Here to aid and strengthen me,
Follow — for I ne'er could doubt thee —
AVhere thou art and I would be.
Thy example keeps me steady
In the way to Canaan fair.
And may I, when called, be "ready,"
Sainted boy, to meet thee there !
Sardis, Miss., March 1, 1879.
JS BARER, MY GOD, TO THEE,'' 215
"NEAEER, MY GOD, TO THEE/'
RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO MES. M. B. W.
When clouds their shadows fling
Over my way,
When sorrow's gloomy wing
Darkens my day,
Welcome if they drive me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.
When loved ones droop and die,
All grief is vain.
But in " Sweet by and l)y"
We'll meet again, —
Meet where we'll ever be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.
When dark misfortunes come,
Friends smile no more ;
All hope seems wrapt in gloom.
Life's pleasures o'er ;
21 G ''NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE:'
Then Jesus beckons me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, "
Nearer to Thee.
There is a kingdom fair
From sorrow free.
And loved ones now are there
Waiting for me.
Oh, sweet with them to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.
There, in seraphic strains,
Sweetly we'll sing.
Till all through heaven's plains,
God's praises ring.
Hosannah ! I shall be *
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.
Sardis, Miss., Dec. 25, 1878.
RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO MRS. A. D. G., OP
The skies may be overcast to-day,
And load our hearts with sadness,
But clouds, we know, will pass away :
To-morrow'll bring us gladness.
But who can know if that will come,
Though of it ever dreaming, —
Who knows he'll see around his home.
To-morrow's sunlight beaming?
To-day is ours, and though it may
Have brought us joy or sorrow,
We know not, when it fades away.
That we shall see to-morrow.
'Tis well, perhaps, that there should be
A veil hung all before us.
And that our eyes should never see
What is impending o'er us.
Man's limit is threescore and ten.
But did he know 'twas fate he
Should live beyond the limit, then
Lie down and die at eighty.
His life from boyhood to the grave
Would be suspense and sorrow,
218 DO I EAT?
And many a pang 'twas meant to save,
When heaven veiled to-morrow.
T^vo years ago a friend met friend,
Their greeting brief and hurried ;
Yet that same night one met his end,
" To-morrow" he was buried.
And so it is in daily life.
And we should ne'er forget it.
Else, when death comes to end our strife.
Too late we shall regret it.
To-day is ours to sow the seeds
Of happiness or sorrow.
And, sow we fruit or grain or weeds.
We'll reap the same " to-morrow."
Sardis, Miss., Sept. 17, 1870.
DO I EAT?
ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF A FRIEND.
Do I eat ? To answer " Never" "
Would outrage veracity.
And to answer " Hardly ever"
Would not less untruthful be.
I can smoke a mild Havana,
But I never " take a drink ;"
And, as I'm no Dr. Tanner,
Nature needs ^' a bite," I think.
DO I EAT? 219
Do I eat ? I've always thought so, —
Let's investigate and see.
I, some years ago, was taught to
Deem it a necessity.
Eat? I think so, — nay, I know it, —
And my appetite is fair ;
For, although you call me poet.
Poets cannot live on air.
Starve they did in early ages,
Which was on mankind a blot.
But I think your Ledger pages
Proof will show that I do not.
Search your Daybook and your Journaly
And you there, I think, will find
Evidence, at least external,
I'm not of the starving kind.
And when morning bath I've taken.
Dressed and loaded up my plate.
Could you see your " breakfast bacon"
Disappear, you'd think I ate,
For "presumptive proof" would follow:
You would see me bite and " chaw,"
And you then would see me swallow.
Which would be "good proof at law."
And, I scorn not smothered chicken.
But can't have it " every day" ;
And, 'twould make your heart-beats quicken
Just to see it get away.
220 1^0 I EAT?
Melt some butter, then, and stir up,
Bring along your buckwheat cakes !
Now a stand of golden syrup :
No use " whistling down the brakes !"
And, like every other sinner
Who a breakfast don't despise,
After this I want my dinner, —
Ham, and roast, and chicken pies ;
Then I want some pie or pudding,
Am not heavy on ice cream.
But the " Queen," with sauce w^ell flooding,
Conquers poet's brightest dream.
Sometimes I sit down to supper, —
But for this I little care, —
Sip my tea and then get up, or
Stay if oysters should be there ;
For, at night I do my writing.
And if I've stowed much away,
All the night in dreams I'm fighting,
Ending battle but with day.
Do I eat? You'd better try me.
Send me down some samples here ;
Follow these and, sitting by me.
Watch me as they disappear.
Then you'll think a country poet —
If this title I may grace —
vSometlmes eats ; indeed, you'll know it,
For I'll prove it to your face.
HOW THEY DO GROW! 221
Do I eat? Ah, yes! a" little/'
But I do not feign, like those
"Who have love aifairs to settle
And can feast upon a rose.
Those are ladies all unmarried,
Timid beaux who dread a frown.
But alone, and all unflurried.
How they " gulp" the " vittals" down !
Rarely call I for ambrosia.
But on syllabub I am
Awful as a hungry Hoosier
Is upon nice roasted lamb.
Four long years I was not dainty :
Dainty stomachs had no show ;
Only ^' Confed" then was plenty,
But I ne'er could stomach " crow."
Sardis, Miss., Sept. 20, 1880.
HOW THEY DO GROW!
How gayly tripped the little girls
Around us but a while ago.
Their brows all decked in shining curls.
Their consciences all white as snow^ !
It may be these are still as white.
But some folks doubt if this be so :
I hope I am not impolite.
But, goodness ! how the misses grow !
222 HOW THEY DO GROW!
Not that I think they grow too fast
(1^11 not a wid'wer, bear in mind),
Nor does it make me sadly cast
A lingering look on years behind.
I only know they skipped around
In short clothes, but a while ago,
And now their " fixings'^ sweep the ground :
" Jewhillikens !" how they do grow !
Their fondness then was for dessert.
And pretty dolls and sugar-plums ;
But, my ! how soon they learned to flirt
And twist the "fellows'' 'round their thumbs !
'Twas candy that they craved most then,
But now 'tis pickle, as we know ;
A little shy they were of men.
But that is past, and how they grow !
Then " sailor" hats and bright red shoes.
With short pink dresses, stockings white ;
But now 'tis sandals, striped hose.
And hats and dresses nameless quite.
Their laces, ribbons, fans, and frills
Cost but a dollar then, or so ;
But now " the old man" pays the bills
And says, '^ My gracious ! how they grow !"
Then four yards made a pretty dress.
And sometimes five, but rarely more;
But now they think it quite '^ a mess,"
If it has less than twenty-four.
THE BOYS. 223
The styles and prices change each day, —
We may not know it, but ^tis so, —
And when the monthly bills we pay,
We think, " Ye stars ! how they do grow !'
We smoke our pipes, and contemplate
The changes that old Time hath brought
On places, people, scenes, and state.
And know he has his work well wrought;
But nowhere else the change appears
As unmistakably to show.
As in the precious, blooming dears,
And these, — my gracious ! how they groAv !
Sardis, Miss., Aug. 14, 1880.
The boys try hard to keep up with
The pretty girls in growing.
But when the damsels get a start.
The fellows have no showing ;
They smoke cigars and sport their canes.
Grow dandified and frisky.
And sometimes, to be " mannish-like,"
They tackle Bourbon whiskey.
But Bourbon "gets them"; then they "tack,"
And think 'twill make them merry.
224 THE BOYS.
If they will take a little hock,
Or port, muscat, or sherry.
Champagne gets into their heads.
And creates there a buzzing.
Till, put into their "little beds,"
They "cool off" there in dozing.
But neither " rock and rye" nor wine,
From goblets overflowing,
Helps them to keep up in the line
With pretty girls in growing.
They try moustaches even while
Their grammar task rehearsing,
Though they can't sport a dozen sprouts
With all their care and nursing.
They pine for great big sailor beards.
Like those about the harbors,
And patronize with open hands
The most artistic barbers.
These lather them with softest soap, —
Their minds as well as faces, —
And promise each a " bully" crop
Of beard to charm the graces.
The young are hopeful, as we know,
And so they go on shaving,
And shave, and shave, and still shave on,
Big monster whiskers craving.
The barber smiles to see them come, —
Yes, smiles with joy unuttered, —
For every barber knows full well
" Which side his bread is buttered."
THE BOYS. 225
He knows, too, if his blade is dull,
There'll be no '^ cuss'' nor scandal.
For he can simply turn it round
And shave them with the handle.
And sometimes, after long suspense,
A "crop" of fuz is showing,
But beards are in the future tense :
The girls still beat them growing.
" Once on a time" I knew a youth
AVho thought he was a goner,
(Fm telling you a simple truth, —
I am, upon my honor).
He loved a pretty lass ; 'tis true
She was a little older,
But then his chm could nearly touch
The little damsel's shoulder.
He flew around her, and he thought
That he was deeply smitten ;
She toyed with him just as she'd play
"With any petted kitten.
She grew too fast; he begged her wait.
And really thought she ought to :
She didn't, but when he grew up
She gave to him her daughter.
He seemed to be well satisfied ;
And, boys, if you are knowing.
You'll think of him nor fret, for girls
Will always beat you growing.
Sardis, Miss., Aug. 28, 1880.
226 ^^ ^ YOUNG LADY FRIEND.
TO A YOUNG LADY FRIEND.
The tender bud in beauty grows,
Unlike the tinsel thing of art,
Until the blooming, blushing rose
Bursts forth to glad the eye and heart.
In joyousness it seems to smile.
Nor craves the wisdom of the wise ;
It blooms in beauty yet a while,
Then droops and withers, fades and dies.
The bird that in the bower sings.
Melodious making every breeze,
A cheerfulness o'er nature flings.
And trills its note to soothe and please ;
And yet those harmonies we hear.
Whose sweetness banish every sigh.
Will ere long cease to strike the ear.
For that sweet warbler too must die.
The gem that glitters in the mine.
From mortal eye though it may be
Obscured a while, will brighter shine
When from its prison-house set free.
Nor time nor death can ever dim
The lustrous beauty of that stone :
A jewel it was made by Him
Who'll keep it bright when time is gone.
A MOTHER'S LOVE. 227
Though lovely as the blooming rose,
As bird, all gentle harmony,
Of innocence the calm repose,
Nor rose nor bird is type of thee.
But, like the gem that never dies,
As pure, as beautiful, and fair.
On earth, and then above the skies
May'st thou attain perfection there.
Sardis, Feb. 15, 1879.
A MOTHER^S LOVE.
RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO MRS. N. F., OF
^Tis like the brightly-burnished shield
That guards from harm the fount of life ;
To no assaulting force will yield,
And brightest is in darkest strife ;
Envenomed thrust and shaft defies.
And ne'er corrodes, nor ever dies.
'Tis like the rock that tempest braves.
And offers its inviting crest,
When 'round it dash the angry waves,
A place of refuge and of rest.
It stands, a firm, unyielding rock.
Defying tempest's Avildest shock.
228 I'HE LOVER'S FAREWELL.
'Tis like the star that ne'er grows dim,
But only seems to melt away,
Or else, like living gem, to swim
In liquid light of smiling day.
Its mission 'twill for aye fulfil.
And shine on brightly, sweetly still.
'Tis like the soft blue ether sky.
The ocean's broad, resistless sweep ;
Like one, as constant, pure, and high.
The oth'r, as boundless and as deep.
It brightens earth and heav'n above,
A priceless gem, a mother's love.
Saudis, Miss., August 21, 1880.
THE LOVER'S FAREWELL.
Stern duty's voice must be obeyed.
And, though his soul it wrung
To leave a while his chosen maid.
Thus cheerily he sung, —
"Farewell, for we must part a while;
Yet listen to my lay.
And let me bask in thy sweet smile
A moment, while I may.
THE LOVER'S FAREWELL. 229
" Let absence liearfc devotion prove,
And that each throb of mine
In pure, unchanging virgin love
Is echoed back by thine, —
" That time can ne'er with wintry breath
Love's deep, pure fountain chill,
But that through life, and down to death,
'Twill flow unchanging still.
" Should doubt of thee arise, it must
In wild confusion flee ;
For naught can mar my heart's deep trust,
Its confidence, in thee.
" Nor can rude time its love subdue :
'Twill ever round thee 'twine ;
Thou art its empress, idol, too.
Its every thought is thine.
" And, though upon the rolling seas
Or distant plains I be.
Each ze^)liyr and each balmy breeze
Shall waft mv love to thee, —
" A love that can all storms defy.
All shafts by malice thrown ;
A love that ne'er can droop or die
If nourished by thine own.
230 '^HE SHATTERED IDOL.
^' The liour has come, but ere we part,
And I have closed my lay,
Oh ! let me clasp thee to my heart
In transports while I may.
" Let not time's changes ever me
From heart and mind expel ;
Be true, as I am true to thee :
Queen of my heart, farewell !''
Saudis, Miss., August 20, 1880.
THE SHATTERED IDOL.
She never loved but one ;
To him she gave her heart in life's bright morn.
And all the world without him seemed forlorn
As earth without a sun.
He was her priest, her idol, — nay, her god.
Though he was but an animated clod
Of earth, and doomed to die ;
She never dreamed that such an one could be
Deceptive, false, or changeful, or that she
Should e'er have cause to sigh.
Brief partings gave her pain.
Even though in accents tender, soft, and clear
He told her none on earth like her was dear.
And soon he'd come again.
THE SHATTERED IDOL. 231
She yielded up lier virgin heart, nor strove
To curb the growth and throbbings of its love,
But freely, gladly gave
Her every thought, her heart, her soul, to one
She blindly worshipped as a paragon.
Pure, noble, true, and brave.
Long years have passed, and now
She walks the changeful, fickle world alone;
Carries a stricken heart, but makes no moan,
Though shadows dim her brow;
Has schooled her heart to bear its burden well,
Has schooled her face no hidden woe to tell
Of blighted hopes and joys;
Looks o'er the ])ast with many a smothered sigh.
And as her saddened days go dragging by,
Oft unseen tears arise.
She saw, alas ! her proud ideal fall.
Knows that the past is gone beyond recall.
And feels that now life's span —
A life once bright — has nearly reached its end,
And she its yet-remaining days will spend
In finding fault with man.
Strange inconsistency !
Alas ! that one should bring reproach on all ;
Yet so it is, and was in Adam's fall.
And so must ever be.
Sardis, Miss., May 8, 1880.
232 • TO MY WIFE.
TO MY AVIFE.*
And what, dear one, if friends forsake ?
For false ones we should never pine ;
The loss of myriads should not break
One single heart so pure as thine.
If gold abound, each face we meet
Will wear a captivating smile.
And fawning tongues, in language sweet.
Will laud our every act the while.
Few will condemn the Avays of wealth.
Or pause to ask how ^twas obtained, —
By labor, marriage, trade, or stealth ;
'Tis one : they only know 'twas gained.
But let misfortune come at last,
And poverty oppress you sore.
How soon will they forget the past,
And blame what they have praised before !
Then let them go,— aye, bid them flee;
In thy sweet, prattling babe thou hast
A present solace, who will be
A joy and comfort to the last.f
* Published in "Godey's Lady's Book," February, 1851.
f Our little darling died the following year.
THE WAY. 233
Thou canst not think that I'll forsake !
But yes ! 'tis possible I may,
When death, life's brittle thread, shall break
And tear my soul from thee away !
Thou canst not think that I'll forget!
But yes ! fond mem'ry may not last ;
I may — ah, yes ! I may — forget.
When life's sweet transient dream is past.
I may forsake, forget, and die.
But oh ! I would not be forgot;
I ask no teardrop nor a sigh.
But only, dear, " forget me not."
IN MEMORY OF THE REV. E. R. BEADLE, D.D.
Upon tliat bright and glorious Sabbath morn.
In grateful consciousness of duty done,
He stood in vigor like the full ripe corn.
Looked up to God, as that looked to the sun.
* The above lines were written upon hearing a friend rchite the
following incident connected with the closing hours of the life of
one of America's most eminent divines and profound theologians,
the Kev. Ellas R. Beadle, D.D., pastor of the Seconcl Presbjr
234 THE WAY.
His face was lit with more than earthly smile,
And told of peace and joy within his breast, —
That breast which ne'er had known nor harbored guile.
That heart Avhose love had countless thousands blest.
With open hand he strewed the bread of life ;
With thrilling w^ords, that flashed from tongue of
He soothed the wounded heart, calmed all its strife,
Weaned it from earth, and led its longings high'r ;
With beaming eyes he pointed to the cross.
Where hung the hopes of worlds engulfed in sin,
Held wealth and honors but as worldly dross,
And taught the Avay immortal joys to win.
No pause, no rest, he knew, but ever wrought
With zeal untiring, and with heart of love.
To save men's souls, by sacred life-blood bought,
And train them for a purer life above.
His very soul was in his Master's ca«se.
And he the talents which that Master gave
Put out at usury, yet under laws
Of God, and strove that usury to save —
To save it for the Master, not for self —
Until the " day of reckoning," and then
To render all, yet not in paltry pelf.
But — what the Master craved — the souls of men.
tenant Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who, on the morn-
ing of the 5th of January, 1879, preached one of the grandest
sermons of his life, from 1 Tim. iii. 16, and on his way home was
taken with a heart spasm and expired at midnight.
The only words he was heard to utter were, " O Lord, and is
this the way ?"
THE WAY. 235
And when his work was finished, ready he,
Upon that bright and peaceful Sabbath day,
To hear the call, and Jesus' face to see.
And answered he, ^^O Lord! is this the way?"
In Palestine, with precious mem^'ies fraught.
He once had dwelt, and is remembered still,
As one sweet spot, by loving hands overwrought.
Bears witness in its name of " Beadle's Hill."
A life like his, that beamed and bloomed with love.
And beautified the rugged pathway here,
Its acme could alone attain above,
To beam more brightly, bloom more sweetly, there.
It could, and did, a dimless lustre shed
O'er transitory things while here it shone,
Bring blessings down on many a heart and head,
And soothe the w^oes his warm heart made his
A servant — faithful servant — he of God,
And yet a servant of mankind as well,
He wrought, while here the paths of earth he trod,
To save the souls of dying men from hell.
A cold and selfish thought he never knew.
He sympathized with others' woes and sought their
His heart was large and warm, sincere and true.
And could, and ever did, for others feel.
A stately monument he does not need,
AYhose life a lesson even yet imparts
To thinking men, of every faith and creed :
His name is graven on ten thousand hearts.
236 LITTLE NELLIE.
Like some grand mountain peak his life will stand,
A guide, till dawns eternity's broad day,
And he will beckon us with loving hand,
And say, " Come hither, I have found the way."
Sardis, Miss., August 28, 1880.
There is a little lass in town,
A bonnie, blue-eyed lassie fair,
With brow so bright that not a frown
Would dare to seek a lodgment there.
Her tresses cluster bright and clear.
Like finest threads of polished gold.
Around a soft, sweet brow, and there.
The beauties nature gave unfold.
Her prattle, like the birds' sweet song,
Falls soft as music on the ear.
And gladdens, as the day is long.
The loving hearts that hold her dear.
Her smiles are like the purest beams,
Fair Luna scatters from the sky,
W^hen earth is wrapt in balmy dreams,
While slumber rests the mind and eye.
NASHVILLE'S FIRST CENTENNIAL. 237
A tender, winsome, cherub child,
Untainted and nntouclied by art.
With temper placid, sweet, and mild,
And tender, pure, and loving heart,
A type she is — a lovely type —
Of purity and innocence;
Though but a bud, the fruit, when ripe.
Will yield "a mother's recompense/'
Ah, me ! if India's wealth were mine.
What is it that I would not give
For innocence, sweet one, like thine,
With which to die, or yet to live ?
Heav'n keep thee, darling, as thou art,
And on thy life its blessings send ;
From sorrow shield thy pure young heart.
And guide and bless thee to the end.
July 9, 1878.
NASHVILLE'S FIRST CENTEN-
Wake, slumb'ring muse ! my feeble pen inspire, —
Not with a flame of sentimental fire,
Not with a dazzling stream of transient light, —
To beam a moment, then to fade from sight,
238 NASHVILLE'S FIRST CENTENNIAL.
Emotions sliow thnt ne'er in bosom dwelt, —
And feelino;s voice the heart lias never felt.
The poet's soul to higher things aspires,
A nobler inspiration now desires,
And would, in its ambitious longings, clasp.
With patriotic, filial ardor, grasp
The scenes of long ago, and bring them down —
Embellished with a century's renown, —
Would glimm'ring past and beaming present sing.
And soar aloft on 'luminated wing;
Weave gratitude and hope with high renown,
And wreathe for Nashville's brow centennial crown ;
Would grace the scenes of this auspicious day
With tribute at his mother's feet to lay.
For he looks back, like those who first came here,
And greets old Carolina as " ma mb'e.^'
Glance back a hundred years: a blooming wild,
On which alone has God and Nature smiled,
The hoQie of savage beasts, more savage men.
Though sylvan songsters melodize each glen;
A grand old river, on whose mirror breast,
Disguised with paint, fantastically drest,
Indig'nous red men nimbly ply the oar.
And speed their bark canoes from shore to shore.
While water-fowl in placid sport swim near.
The antlered stag and graceful doe appear
On either bank, and graze and gambol there,
And lordly eagles cleave the upper air.
This is the scene — no house, no hovel, nigh —
Which meets and greets the retrospective eye.
NASHVILLE'S FIRST CENTENNIAL. 239
Now look away beyond the frowning hills
That stand — this bow'r to guard — like sentinels,
Away oif there, on Carolina's soil.
Which yields them not a fair return for toil,
A sturdy band of ^' Eip Van WinkleV sons.
All firm, strong spirits — no despondent drones —
Have gathered up their household gods, to be
Borne far away to distant Tennessee,
And, while their hearts with Avarm affection swell.
They bid their friends and native home farewell.
Defying winter's rigid, stormy sway,
The savage hordes tliat lurk along their way.
The grand old mountain guards, that sternly stand
Across their path to far-ofP western land.
The beasts of prey that hover on their track.
Hardships that turned less dauntless spirits back, —
Defying all, undaunted still they go.
Although their journey tedious is and slow.
And weeks and months and years must inter v^ene
Ere they can feast their eyes upon the scene
Which Fancy, to the eager mental gaze.
Had often pictured in the by-gone days.
But flowing waters wear the rock away.
As gloomy night gives place to beaming day ;
So on, they still their weary way pursue.
Till through the thick, dark woods breaks on their view
The smiling Cumberland, in glitt'ring sheen, —
As if Enchantment's hand had wrought the scene, —
240 NASHVILLE'S FIRST CENTENNIAL.
The rocky, vine- wreathed, oak-clad hills, beyond,
And now, to woodland choristers respond
Tlieir grateful hearts, and fervently they raise
The ringing notes, of thankfulness and praise.
And thus the hardy pioneers came here
To mark the site on which should others rear
An Athens, — where these first broke the sod, —
Mankind to honor, and to honor God.
HE laid the base a hundred years ago.
And we " Praise God, from whom all blessings flow."
Leave now the past, and view the scene to-day!
How richly does it " faith and works'^ repay !
Behold we now, Avhere erst the forest stood,
And wild beasts roamed the dark and tangled wood.
What grand achievements man, with help divine.
Hath wrought to grace earth's proudest nation's shrine!
What strides triumpliant, enterprise hath made.
What temples reared to Learning, Truth, and Trade I
How covered o'er — supplanting — lonely '^trails"
With miles on miles of busy iron rails.
Where to and fro tlie fire-consuming steed,
Wealth laden, sweeps witii time-defying speed !
Snatched down the lightning to obey the will
Of commerce, learning, industry, and skill !
Made Cumberland assume a busy air.
And on its bosom untold wealth to bear !
Where panther's 'plaint the forest echoes stirred,
The welcome hum of industry is heard;
NASHVILLE'S FIRST CENTENNIAL. 241
Where savage yell awakened dread surprise,
Pray'r now ascends, and tuneful anthems rise;
Where unhewn stones repelled the eager eye,
Now stand in grand and graceful symmetry,
On every hill — through coming time to bide —
Her stately domes, the gems of Nashville's pride;
And one of these — canst see it if thou wilt —
The free-will gift of noble Vanderbilt !
Her sons have hewn all rough obstructions down,
For Nashville wrought a time-enduring crown.
An Athens made her, worthy aye to be
The capital of grand old Tennessee,
Whose story glitters with renowned events.
Deeds of her heroes and her presidents.
Her sons are tried and true, of sterliup; worth.
Peers— if not more— of proudest lords of earth ;
Her daughters nature's jewels,— peerless ones, —
And fit companions for her noble sons.
Cease now, my muse ! for thou canst do no more ;
Rest from thy labor, for thy work is o'er ;
Yet we will breathe a fervent pray'r : 'tis this, —
That Nashville's sons pause not, nor be remiss ;
That those who greet her next Centennial Day,
May find her still advancing, on her way
To that proud height, where, with ensign unfurled,
Her raiik shall class with foremost of the world.
242 '^'^^' BROKEN SHAFT.
THE BROKEN SHAFT.
A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMOHY OF MCQEHEE DAN-
DRIDGE, LATE OF PANOLA COUNTY, MLSSISSIPPI.
His clarion voice, tli rough Alma Mater's halls,
Rung like the sound of music's thrilling strain.
And all the thousand hearts within those walls.
Were rapt and bound as by a golden chain.
And, when the last clear note had died away.
Then floral tributes flowed with scarce a pause,
For eloquence held undisputed sway.
And drew, unsought, spontaneous applause.
But he, who thus had struck responsive chords
In all those hearts, and w^on a scholar's prize.
Found not his goal in these, nor strangers' words.
But in the joy that lit a mother's eyes.
And well might she, her pride and pleasure show.
For she had Avatched his life with hope and joy;
Had trained the plant as she would have it grow,
And now, a noble man beheld her boy.
" The soul of honor," stainless virtue was
In all his life serenely typified ;
He honored her, revered her sacred laws,
Nor did an act from her pure eyes to hide.
THE BROKEN SHAFT. 243
He liad no ear, no heart, for siren's songs,
Scorned all the tricks and blandishments of art,
Sought not companionship with noisy throngs,
But sought it 'mong his peers, the pure in heart.
He did not seek to win the world's applause,
By ribald jest to rouse its vulgar mirth,
Yet vice and virtue bowed to Heaven's laws,
And tribute paid to character and worth.
A silent power wielded he for good,
His life a monitor all pure and bright.
Dispelling blemishes from brotherhood.
And sweetly 'luring all from wrong to right.
And so it is when virtue, like a star.
Shines forth with steady and unfading ray :
Its beams throw out their lustre near and far,
And from its orbit darkness drive away.
A pure, unsullied life an influence wields
On erring man, which, 'mid the wildest storm
And tempest of temptation, often shields
The loved exposed ones from impending harm.
And such a life of some dear cherished boy.
Repays long years of care and diligence, —
Repays a mother's love Avith calm, sweet joy.
And is a mother's sweetest " recompense."
244 ^^^ BROKEN SHAFT.
I mind me of a home, where peace and love,
And sweet contentment crowned the board, and
Eacli inmate liad rich treasures stored above,
And lived in hope to reap those treasures there.
But hark ! upon the balmy breeze from far
Is borne a harsh, discordant sound, that comes
To tell us that the demon of rude war
Is threatening to invade our peaceful homes.
The white-winged bird of Jove has risen high,
And, poised in air, marks out his weary track,
Then soars away and (every glance a sigh)
Moves slowly off, yet glances sadly back.
Then buckle, youth and age, for bloody fray, —
The white-haired sire, who bears the marks of time,
Thejniddle-aged, whose locks are streaked Avith gray.
And blooming youth, the pride of sunny clime.
They catch the sound of distant signal-gun.
And feel impelled by duty, one and all ;
Nor pause they now, the struggle once begun :
They only render heed to ^' Dixie^s'^ call.
Ah ! many a wife's and mother's bosom bled,
And many a sister's loving heart congealed.
As preparations for the conflict sped.
And loved ones hied to camp or bloody field.
THE BROKEN SHAFT. 245
The lurid, crimson glare of war blazed high,
Forgotten then the soft sweet hum of peace ;
Alone dark clouds hung out across the sky,
And, frowning, bade the flow of joy surcease.
The wife, the mother, oft in fervent pray'r,
At rosy morn, at noon, and "stilly night,"
Their closets sought, and, kneeling humbly there.
Asked, for the loved, God's care and oversight.
From where Cape Henry breaks Atlantic's tide.
To where rolls down the rugged Rio Grande,
From Gulf to " La Belle Iliver," far and wide.
The notes of fife and drum rang through the land.
Then he who but a few brief months ago.
Had charmed the eager throng, in college halls, —
First asking Heaven duty's path to show* —
Begirt himself to answer duty's call.
In this, as in his every act of life.
With faith and pray'r he weighed the matter well.
Full conscious that of those who met in strife,
While some passed through unscathed, yet many fell.
But these reflections, though they caused a sigh
For those he loved, brought him no dark alarms,
For faith assured him he, Avhen called to die.
Would be supported by a Saviour's arms.
A literal fact.
246 THE BROKEN SHAFT.
He proudly wore the armor of his God,
His only shield the shining one of faith ;
With " preparation of the GospeF' shod,
His noble heart could feel no fear of death.
He went forth, followed by a mother's pray'r,
By honor nerved, and by a mother's love ;
Though reared 'mid ease and wealth, he went to share
Hardship and danger, and his manhood prove.
And when, at Shiloh, missiles hurtled by,
He stood Gibraltar-like and faced the storm.
His hopes, his spirits, and his courage high.
Nor paused he 'mid the strife to think of harm.
And when the night brought truce, while bivouacked
Upon the bloody field, men's vanity
And sin, made them God's holy law^ infract,
Eebuked he this and their profanity.
Alas ! this peroration was, and closed
The noble sermon that his life had been.
For ere another sunset he reposed
Beyond all harm, and sight and sound of sin.
He lived, in peace and war, as ever should
True noblemen at every time and j)lace.
Performing duty and in doing good, —
A bright example to his erring race.
THE BROKEN SHAFT. 247
He died as ever die the pure in heart,
Although no loving mother's hand was there
To close his eyes, when life should all-depart,
And his pure spirit mount to purer air.
And well might such an one afford to die,
^or feel, at chilly death's approach, alarm.
For treasures he had stored above the sky.
Where moth nor rust, nor thieves could do them
And now, his mortal sleeps in hallowed ground,
^ear by Fredonia's temple, where he oft
Had heard the word of truth, and joyous sound
Of sacred anthems swelling sweet and soft.
He sleeps, but his example still remains,
As fresh as when among us here he trod,
While his immortal spirit chaunts sweet strains
And glad hosannas, 'round the throne of God.
Nor sighs nor tears— those voiceless types of pain —
Need rise or flow for one supremely blest.
For, while fond hearts his mem'ry still retain,
'Twill sweeter be that he is now at rest.
Malvern Yilla, Oct. 1880.
248 "^^^ LATE BISHOP EDMUND S. JANES.
THE LATE BISHOP EDMUND S.
WRITTEN ON CONTEMPLATING HIS PICTURE, PRE-
SENTED TO ME BY HIMSELF IN THE SPRING PRE-
CEDING HIS DEATH.
I LOOK upon that calm and placid brow,
On which could gloomy shadows never rest,
And something whispers, " 'Tis still calmer now.
Up yonder 'mong the ransomed and the blest."
A noble though an humble man he was.
From all ambition free and worldly pride ;
He strove to teach respect for Heaven's laws.
His life a light to point the way and guide.
As unassuming as a lisping child.
His heart o'erflowed with kindness and with love,
So gentle, amiable, so kind and mild,
A saint he was on earth, as now above.
Ah ! well remember I that balmy eve.
He gave this little souvenir to me.
Nor did I dream, while kindly taking leave.
It was the last of him I e'er should see.
A BRAVE BUT SAD MARTYRDOM. 249
No, 110 ! 'tis not the last, for he has gone
To live where all the saints and angels are,
And I, by Heaven's help, life's labor done.
Shall meet this good man and my loved ones there.
A BRAVE BUT SAD MARTYRDOM.*
TO THE MEMORY OF REV. F. M. PIOWELL, WHO DIED
OF YELLOW FEVER AT SOMERVILLE, TENNESSEE,
OCTOBER 21, 1878.
The world in awe and consternation stood ;
The "noisome pestilence," all unrestrained,
Stalked here and yon in search of human food.
And entrance into every circle gained.
* Kev. F. M. Howell was in charge of the Presbyterian Church
in Somerville, Tennessee, when the yellow fever made its appear-
ance in that place. He had previously sent his wife and two
children to visit relatives in Mississippi, and expected at the time
to follow them ; but when the fatal fever appeared he abandoned
the idea and remained at what he conceived to be the post of duty.
The railroad-trains ceased to run and the telegraph-office was
closed, so that there was no communication with the outside
world, and there was great lack of food and medicine, and con-
sequently great suifering. 1 could fill pages right here, but for-
bear, and must content myself with saying that Mr. Howell held
out and labored through it all, and was only stricken down on
the 17th of October, and died four days later. During the terri-
ble sway of the epidemic he wrote farewell letters to his wife and
250 ^ BRAVE BUT SAD MARTYRDOM.
"Destruction/' too, which at the noonday hour
Spreads " waste" where'er it goes with stealthy tread,
And Wiglits the proudest oak, the sweetest flow'r,
Came on the scene to swell the list of dead.
A wail was heard through all this sunny land,-
A wail of sorrow, such as ne'er before
Had come from hill or valley, mart or strand.
To sweep from sea to sea and shore to shore.
And then it was the noble Howell felt
That duty bade him pass beneath the rod.
And in his closet fervently lie knelt.
And gave himself to duty and to God.
Ah ! sore the trial, and his heart it wrung,
For, in his loving wife and children, he
Had found the sweets of life, and fondly clung
His heart to these he ne'er a^rain would see.
Unselfish and self-sacrificing care
For these, the objects of his tender love.
Had sought their safety far away, and there
Committed them to Him who reigns above.
mother, and, addressing them, added, " To be delivered into their
hands in case of my death." One of these I have read, and it is
one of the most touchingly sad letters I ever read. He was a
noble mart3'r, and he wears a " martyr's crown."
A BRAVE BUT SAD MARTYRDOM. 251
And this accomplished, bravely then he turned
To succor those who hourly ^'ound him fell,
By cruel pestilential fever burned ;
And thus the Master's work performed, and did it
He spoke sweet words of promise and of hope.
Though ^mid such dismal scenes all hope seemed
And yet he cheered them, buoyed their spirits uj).
While striving lovingly to soothe all pain.
He saw them, one by one, in silence yield.
And wej)t because he had not powder — though will
He had — the stricken ones from death to shield ;
But this, alas ! was not in human skill.
He thought of her, his loving, precious wife.
Thought of the little ones he loved so well.
Thought of the mother dear who gave him life.
And wrote to each his touching, sad farewell.
Companion workers now he had but three,
And one by one these fell, and soon was past
The final struggle with them all ; then he
Was stricken by the cruel monster last.
He lived to Avork for others in distress.
Till Heaven's cooling breezes turned the tide;
Through all death's gloomy harvest lived to bless
The victims falling 'round him, then he died.
252 OLD SHAKE.
He fell a martyr, if e'er one has trod
This broad, green earth, and death, for right, defied ;
A martyr for his fellows and for God ;
For these he wrought and suffered, lived and died.
But oh ! he did not live and die in vain.
Vain though his efforts in the fatal strife ;
He sleeps, with thousands, but to wake again
To higher, sweeter, nobler, purer life.
And when the roll is writ of those who gave
For others life, when promise all was fair.
Upon that roll of martyrs true and brave.
Let Howell's name shine ever brightly there.
THE PEEACHER TO HIS FATTPIFUL OLD HORSE.
Your journey. Shake, is near its end.
But, till its night be past,
Fll be, as I have been, your friend.
And love you to the last.
For you have been to me, old Shake,
Unfailing, " true as steel,"
And for your own and others' sake
I'll care still for your weal.
OLD SHAKE. 253
I sit me down sometimes, and think
Of scenes and days gone by,
Each severed, but remembered link,
Still dear to memory,
Which we have felt, in all the past.
Around our hearts entwine.
Links which were in love's furnace cast,
And shaped by hands divine.
Though some are severed now, old Shake,
We feel their power still, —
A pow'r which death alone can break,
Nor even death can kill.
YouVe trudged with me through snow and rain,
With calm, submissive trust.
To seek and save the souls of men, —
Men who were made of dust.
And often 'twould my mind relieve,
My troubled thoughts subdue,
If in my heart I could believe
Men were as true as you.
And, Shake, old friend, you've been so true.
That in eternity,
I shall be glad to find that you
May have a soul like me.
254 ^^^ SHAKE.
For while men's souls a heavy price
In precious blood have cost,
If you have one 'tis free from vice,
And, Shake, 'twill not be lost.
The circuit and the district rounds,
Untiringly you've gone,
And prayer and song and shout are sounds,
To you and me well known.
And if sometimes in happy crowd,
While you have seemed forlorn,
I've shouted and rejoiced aloud
While you were munching corn,
Yet ere the fount of glory burst.
And heart-streams upward flew,
I'd seen. Shake, to your comfort first,
And you were happy too.
Ah, many a long and toilsome mile
We've journeyed, you and I,
Our only care for speed or style.
To please the Master's eye.
The Master who our labors claimed, —
Your muscles and my heart, —
Gave strength to you, my ideas framed,
That each might do his part.
And you, old Shake, have done yours well,
And, if immortals are
In heaven allowed such things to tell,
ni bear you witness there.
But even here I would essay,
In simple words to suit
The theme, to truthfully portray
The virtues of ^' a brute."
" A brute,'' yet one whose long career,
Has shown at every turn.
Fidelity, from which men here,
Might priceless lessons learn.
Though you have worked on " district" long
Yet, you serenely bow
To duty's call, nor deem it wrong
To travel " circuit" now.
May even preachers be as true,
(And show no discontent),
To do what duty bids them do.
And go wherever sent.
Another loved you. Shake, and she
With faintly- whispered breath.
Kind care for you enjoined on me.
Ere she was claimed by deatli.
256 ^^^^ SHAKE.
And faithfully, old friend, I've tried
The wishes to fulfil.
Which her lij^s uttered ere she died,
And I am trying still.
And well have you deserved it all,
And e'en a better lot.
Nor mind nor memory can recall
A time when you did not.
Fear not, old friend, that I'll forsake,
For till shall come the end
I'll ever care for you, old Shake,
And be your steadfast friend.
:}s * * * *
Here the translator pauses, fain,
(Regrets Ms work's no better,)
Until the preacher writes again
To Shake, another letter.
He would his kindly wishes here,
And kind adieus extend all.
Those far away as well as near,
And Shake and Brother Kendall.
Sardis, Miss., May, 1880.
THE TWIN BLOSSOMS. 257
THE TWIN BLOSSOMS.*
RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO THEIR MOTHER.
Two tender buds one morning came,
As Heaven's blessings always come,
To 'lumine love with rosy beam,
And gladness bring to hearts and home.
With azure eyes and golden hair.
Excelling purest gems of art,
They came all beautiful and fair.
To fill with joy each parent^s heart.
And then, they passed from bud to bloom.
While time flowed on like gentle rill,
Their soft bright smiles dispelling gloom.
As daily they grew sweeter still.
So may they pass from bloom to flower —
As nature's gems all brighter grow, —
Enhance in beauty every hour,
And never shock of tempest know.
And when shall come cold winter's snows.
Oh ! may they then transplanted be.
In Eden, — which no winter knows —
To bloom through all eternity.
* Misses Clara and Cora Haynos.
258 MEUM ET TUUM.
MEUM ET TUUM.
My home, though humble, where my board
Affords but simple fare.
And no gay worldly gear is stored,
Nor gold nor jewels rare, —
Is yet the home of sweet content.
Where envy ne'er obtrudes.
To mar the joys by Heaven sent,
With croaking interludes;
A home which is a world to me,
W^here only love-beams shine,
To cheer me on life's rolling sea ;
And all this world is mine.
My fellow-man ! my eyes behold
Thy grand palatial hall.
Where richest viands, served on gold.
Are at thy beck and call ;
Where brilliant chandeliers, at niglit,
Drive darkness all away.
And Oriental jewels bright,
Turn midnight into day ;
I gaze on luxury and ease.
And yet I do not pine.
For, friend, I do not envy these, —
I know that they are thine.
MEVM ET TUUM. 259
I am content, I envy not,
And, though my bounty's small,
My wants are simple as my lot
And I Ve supplied them all ;
About thy wealth I do not fret, —
No part of it is mine, —
Nor does it cause me one reirret.
To know it all is thine :
There's many a cold and cheerless home,
And I would think of those,
If discontent should ever come.
To mar my sweet re])ose.
I'd have thee, what is thine, enjoy.
And, were it threatened, would
Defend thy pleasures from alloy,
Which mingles ill with good :
Thy treasures I would not curtail.
Though mine should all be flown,
Nor thy good name would I assail.
To make them all my own !
Nay, friend ! and though thy cup run o'er,
I would its draughts may be
As sweet as from my little store.
Flows constantly to me.
And when, with slow or eager feet,
Both thou and I shall mount
The bar, before the judgment-scat.
To render strict account
260 ''DEATH KISSES.''
Of talents trusted to our care
May we be ready then,
To show the Master's profits there,
Upon our two and ten.
Meum et tuum then will shine,
Upon immortal scroll,
'Mong brighter names, in realms divine,
While endless ages roll.
December 1, 1880.
[Extract from AvnlancJic, August 26, 1879 : " One of the most
touching incidents of the epidemic occurred yesterday morning.
As an instance of love and affection it stands unpai-alleled in the
annals of history." ... It " was witnessed in the death of Mrs.
Minnie Wilkie, consort of B. J. Wilkie. . . . His darling wife,
during the early hours of yesterday, had several attacks of black
vomit, and repeatedly called on him to kiss her. Although
warned of the danger that attended the request, he proved his
love and devotion by showering kisses upon her. She died with
her arms around his neck, and Mr. Wilkie lies dangerously ill
with the fever, which he brought upon himself by his atfection for
his wife." . . .]*
Come nearer, darling! let these loving eyes —
Ere they shall strive to recognize in vain
The dear ones gathered 'round my dying bed —
Look fondly, deeply into thine again.
* Mr. Wilkie died two days after his wife.
'^ DEATH kisses: ' 201
The roses which these pallid cheeks liave shown,
Are faded, dead, and withered now, I know;
The beauty of thy fair young bride is gone.
And she too, darling, soon will calmly go.
Lay here thy hand upon ray chilly brow,
Which erewhile racking, burning fever bore,
But fever quickens not its throbbings now,
Will never burn, will never touch it more.
Come closer, darling ! let these eager arms
Twine lovingly — as they were wont to twine —
Around thy neck ; while thine, in last embrace,
Shall fondly, tenderly encircle mine.
I feel death's icy fingers on my heart.
While o'er my features plays thy soothing breath.
And were it not that thou and I must part,
I could, my darling, calmly welcome death.
Ah, yes ! with thy warm kiss on lip and brow.
And gazing in thy gentle loving eye.
Which beams alone wnth tenderness and love.
In thy embrace, 'twere sweet, my love, to die.
I hold thee, dearest, closely to the heart.
Whose virgin love to thee was freely giv'n,
And linger here a moment ere we part.
To say how sweet 'twill be to meet in heav'n.
Perchance, my darling, it may not be long
Ere I shall greet thee at the pearly gate.
And thou and I shall join the ransom'd throng.
Who 'round the great white throne in rapture wait.
262 LINES TO A YOUNQ LADY.
One last warm kiss — I'm near tlie river now,
And see my peaceful home on yonder side —
She gave, and then received the parting kiss.
Her arms relaxed, and thus she calmly died.
The " noisome pestilence" has passed away
Like gloomy shadows of the long dark night,
And face meets face no more in dumb dismay,
As when death hovered everywhere in sight.
But yonder, where the monster's victims sleep —
Out there — in death's deep slumber as in life —
(While o'er them, angels constant vigils keep)
Sleep noble Wilkie and his loving wife.
Sardis, April IG, 1880.
TO A YOTJNG LADY, DAUGHTER OF A DECEASED
I WOULD, dear girl, this pen of mine.
In words which time should ne'er effiice, —
And breathing friendship in each line, —
Might here a worthy tribute trace.
For there are ties, that link the past
And present, — ties all dear to me, —
LINES TO A YOUNG LADY. 263
Which 'round thy name sad memories cast,
Then centre tenderly on thee.
Fain would I call upon thy head,
Soft light from yonder upper sphere,
A radiance on thy way to shed.
And sweetly guide thy footsteps here.
And if thy way should thorny prove,
And pearly tears unbidden rise,
That light should beam Avith sacred love.
And drive all tear-drops from thine eyes.
Fain would I pour into thy heart
A stream of pure and tranquil joy,
Not earth's cold fi-own, nor Satan's art,
Nor death itself could e'er destroy.
And if the sky should rayless seem.
And cold indilF'rence here below
Should threaten to congeal that stream.
It still should calmly, sweetly flow.
Upon thy life I would invoke
The smiles of Him whose smile is love.
Who lifts life's burden, smoothes its yoke,
And lures and leads to rest above.
Thy heart, thy head, and all thy life.
Like slumb'ring innocence should be
From dark misfortune, pain, and strife.
And every care and sorrow free.
264 LINES TO A YOUNG LADY.
And when — on some far distant day —
Thy head and heart grow cold in death,
I'd have thy life to pass away
As softly as a zephyr's breath.
Not like the sun, whose gilded welts
Sink down before the coming night,
But like the morning star, which melts
Serenely in a broader light.
Malyern, March, 1880.